Despite criticism for what was an underwhelming World Cup for Robert Lewandowski and Poland, the Bayern Munich ace looks set to retain the captain’s armband for his country moving forward. Per a report by kicker, Poland’s new manager, Jerzy Brzeczek confirmed in a press conference that Lewandowski would continue to be Poland’s captain through the Euro 2020 qualification campaign:
At no time did I think about exchanging the captain. Robert Lewandowski remains captain of the national team. I do not want to initiate a revolution.
In Russia, Lewandowski failed to find the mark once in all three of Poland’s group stage matches, causing a flurry of criticism to be lobbed his way. The striker claimed that he didn’t have the necessary support provided to him to score goals and make enough of an impact, which only made his critics more critical.
In an interview last week with Polish media outlet, Przegląd Sportowy, Lewandowski reflected on the World Cup, saying that he had “many sleepless nights” after the tournament and that the experience would bring “good learning success over time.” Additionally, he also said he did everything he could as a captain to try and get the team to fire on all cylinders, but was left feeling disappointed and responsible for not producing the right results on the pitch:
Maybe I’m not a man who shows it. But I have my feelings. It hurts a lot. I have not digested it yet. I had big ambitions. The reality turned out to be completely different than my dreams. My heart ached. I feel responsible. I do not know, maybe I made some mistakes in this role (as captain)? If so, then it was completely unintentional. I try to keep in touch with everyone. I took young players under my wing. Jan Bednarek, Dawid Kownacki, Piotr Zieliński and Karol Linetty sat with me at the table in the canteen. I do not run into any close circles, although it is known that with a group of 23 footballers you do not have non-stop everyday contact with everyone.
The constant Real Madrid links also furthered the narrative that Lewandowski was under-performing and unmotivated, and the striker reportedly requested a meeting with Bayern’s front office before the new season starts. The purpose of the meeting, per SportBild, was to discuss how the striker wants to ensure he has the club’s full backing and support amidst all of the criticism he’s been receiving. This came just two weeks after Niko Kovač confirmed he wanted Lewandowski to stay at Bayern.
Moving forward, Poland’s next competitive matches come in the form of the UEFA Nations League, during which they’re set to play Italy and Portugal, with a friendly against the Republic of Ireland in between (on 9/11/18). After that, a friendly vs. the Czech Republic in Gdańsk is on the docket.