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‘I needed a new challenge’ – Former Arsenal goalkeeper explains reasons for leaving Emirates

10:30 BST 16/09/2019
Lukasz Fabianski Arsenal
Lukasz Fabianski spent seven years with the Gunners, but took in only 78 appearances and has since gone on to flourish at Swansea and West Ham

Lukasz Fabianski admits that he “needed to leave Arsenal” in order to become the goalkeeper he always believed he could be.

The Poland international linked up with the Gunners in 2007 and went on to spend seven years in north London.

His final outing for the club saw him lift the FA Cup in 2014, but that was just his 78th appearance.

A lack of regular game time saw him struggle for consistency when called upon, with the decision ultimately taken to try his luck away from Emirates Stadium.

That brave call has paid off, with a man who has gone on to shine for Swansea and West Ham telling Sky Sports of his experiences at Arsenal: "I wanted to prove myself on the pitch, but I didn't have many chances, so it put a lot more pressure on every single game that I played.

"I found myself in situations where I was so keen to show my qualities, but many times it worked against me and I was punished for being too eager.

"I think what happens when you don't play regularly is that all the little things that are very important for our position are a little bit off. Even when I started pre-season this year, I could feel a bit of a difference. Your timing is not there, your feeling of the game, your distances. When I made the decision to leave Arsenal, it was based on that."

Fabianski added on the criticism he faced at times when with the Gunners: "I never spoke about it in a loud way, but inside of me I felt like that was actually one of the things that helped. It was something which drove me to get better.

"Over the years I think I have developed a better understanding of being a goalkeeper - and I mean on and off the pitch. I mean how to deal with certain situations, how to prepare myself for games, how to read the game. I think I needed to leave Arsenal to do that. I needed a new challenge in my life and I am very happy with how things have gone from that moment."

Fabianski is now 34 years of age, but believes he still has many good years left in him.

He is West Ham’s reigning Player of the Year and intends to maintain the high standards he has set since finding the support he lacked in north London.

"I don't know how much I've got left in the tank, but I feel good," Fabianski added.

"I just want to prepare myself well and keep trying to develop, because I think there is always room to develop and get better. I will just keep pushing. My aim is to get as much as I can from whatever I've got left."