Name: Nicola Zalewski
Age: 20 years old (at time of writing)
Position: Left Wing-Back and Left Wing.
Place of Birth: Tivoli, Italy
National team career: 7 caps (0 goals)
Current club: Stade: AS Roma
Born to Polish parents just outside of Rome, 20 year old Nicola Zalewski will be another young star to keep an eye on this winter, with Roma’s latest starlet ready to turn out for Poland to help his side out of a tricky-looking group stage that includes Mexico and current South American champions Argentina.
Following the serious injury sustained to Leonardo Spinazzola at Euro2020, which kept him sidelined for much of the 21/22 season, it was Zalewski who stepped into his role for his club side, having been a part of the Roma setup since he joined the U15 primavera side.
Though initially thrust into the action at left-wing-back by Jose Mourinho, much of Zalewski’s best work comes as a winger, a position that he has been given the chance to take up more at international level than for the Giallorossi.Open in new window
It was in the more defensive position that he earned his stripes, however, making 24 appearances as Roma won the UEFA Conference League despite a poor showing in Serie A. His form was recognised both by Mourinho and co., who handed him a new contract in December 2021 tying him to the club until 2025, but also by Poland boss Paolo Sousa, who handed him his National Team debut aged just 19.
Though he has yet to get off the mark for Poland, his marauding runs and defensive work have endeared him to fans of both Roma and the National side, and should he get the opportunity, he is especially dangerous from set-pieces.
Comfortable on either foot, he offers plenty to the Poland attack that has previously been all too reliable on Robert Lewandowski. Though the 20-year-old cannot yet be 100% sure of a starting berth, he will certainly be an exciting talent to keep an eye on should he make appearances during the group stages and beyond in Qatar.