Mariusz Lewandowski, Poland
Mariusz Lewandowski is the Polish midfield enforcer who is good at keeping possession, has a great long shot and is also a great header of the ball; and is the man they look upon to make things happen. He has vast European experience with the Ukrainians of Shakhtar Donetsk, with whom he has played with for the past seven seasons.
He started his career at Zagłębie Lubin without making much of an impact but once he signed for Groclin Grodzisk Wielkopolski, he started to show his true potential, operating mainly at centre-back.
He captained the Poland U21 team in 2001, the season he also signed for Shakhtar, winning the league title and the cup in his first season while at the same time ending Dynamo Kiev’s nine-year domination. With him in the team, Shakhtar also won consecutive titles in 2005 and 2006 while embarking on three Champions League adventures.
The then Polish coach Paweł Janas dropped him after 2-1 home loss against England in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers. Poland went on to qualify from the group and although Lewandowski made the squad for the finals, he only managed two substitute appearances.
His fortunes couldn’t be much different under current coach Leo Beenhakker though, who from the start has built the Polish team around him and he made twelve Euro 2008 qualifying starts.
Tags: Mariusz Lewandowski, Poland, Leo Beenhakker, Euro 2008