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Friday, January 15, 2021

Szczesny reveals truth behind Arsenal smoking incident and insists there was no bust

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The goalkeeper lit up in the showers after a defeat at Southampton in 2015 and he subsequently moved on to Roma and then Juventus

Wojciech Szczesny has revealed the truth behind the time he was caught smoking after what proved to be the final Premier League appearance of his Arsenal career.

Szczesny lit up in the showers after a 2-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day and he was subsequently fined and dropped by then-manager Arsene Wenger as a result.

The Poland international insists there was no major row with Wenger about the incident, but Szczesny’s only further appearances that season came in the FA Cup.

The 30-year-old then spent two years on loan at Roma before joining Juventus in a permanent deal in the summer of 2017, and Szczesny has detailed the incident which led to him going from Arsenal’s first-choice keeper to eventually leaving Emirates Stadium.

“Back at that time I was smoking regularly and the boss knew it very well,” Szczesny told the Arsenal Nation podcast. “He just didn’t want anybody smoking in the dressing rooms and I knew that also. 

“Because of the emotion of the game, I had a cigarette after the game when the team was still in. I went in the corner of the showers, so it was at the other end of the dressing room and nobody could see me, and I lit one up.

“Somebody saw me, it wasn’t even the boss himself, and just reported it back to the boss. I saw him a couple of days later, he asked me if that was true and I said, ‘yes’. He fined me and that was the end of it. 

“He then said, ‘Look, you’re going to be out of the team for a little bit’ but there was no big bust-ups or big confrontations. I was very professional about it. 

“I was fully expecting to be back in the team a few weeks later but we had a good run of form and David Ospina, who came in goal, played really well for those few games. He stayed in. 

“That meant I was waiting and trying to win my place back in the team, or trying to convince him that I was still the best goalkeeper at the club by going out on loan. That sounds strange but sometimes it’s the best way of doing it.”

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