Poland coach reacts after ex-Arsenal star Wojciech Szczesny is caught smoking again

Wojciech Szczesny was seen smoking ahead of Poland’s Euro 2020 match against Spain (Picture: BGFK /

Poland head coach Paulo Sousa attempted to deflect criticism of his goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny onto the media who photographed the Juventus goalkeeper smoking a cigarette before last weekend’s game against Spain.

The 31-year-old was snapped prior to travelling with the rest of the squad to Sevilla, where his side ground out a 1-1 draw against Spain that kept alive Poland’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout phase.

Szczesny was infamously caught smoking in the showers at St Mary’s back in January 2015 after Arsenal were beaten 2-0 at Southampton and never made a Premier League appearance for the Gunners again.

‘Back at that time I was smoking regularly and the boss knew it very well,’ Szczesny told the Arsenal Nation podcast last year, recalling that incident. ‘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.

Wojciech Szczesny lost his place in the Arsenal team after he was caught smoking in the showers after a defeat against Southampton back in January 2015 (Picture: Getty)

‘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.’

While he was fined two weeks’ wages on that occasion, Szczesny will escape any sanctions this time, with Sousa admonishing the media for reporting a story that could have had damaging repercussions.

He said: ‘For me, the worst is to have paparazzi to get photos because we need to keep educating and protect the development of young players.

‘I think this is worse than one player who smoked. He tried to smoke in front of nobody. I think we have all of us in the life process, we need to be sensible to educate young generations and I think this is not a good way to do it.

‘To show young boys these kind of things, you have lots of players who smoke, it’s natural. He didn’t do it in front of the public. The paparazzi is much worse than one player smoking because he didn’t smoke in front of us.’

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