Q&A with Dawid Rogalski: From Maidenhead United to playing in front of 15,000 fans in Poland

It’s been quite a season for David Rogalski (also known as Dawid Rogalski). Having made the move to Poland in the summer of 2017 to join second-tier side GKS Tychy, the young forward spent this season out on loan to Gryf Wejherowo in the third-tier where he had quite the impact.

On a personal level, the 22-year-old excelled, scoring 11 goals in 33 games in what was his first full season of senior professional football. Although his side finished just outside the relegation spots, it seems the future is bright for the former Maidenhead man in Poland.

Having been born in Szczytno in the north of Poland, Rogalski grew up in England playing for non-league sides in and around the Middlesex area such as Greenford Celtic and Harefield United. He eventually progressed on to join National League side Maidenhead United, playing regularly for the club’s youth teams.

As mentioned, in the summer of 2017 he joined Tychy making his first team debut in the cup before joining Gryf on loan for the 2018-19 season where he finished as the joint-fourth top scorer in the II Liga.

I got the chance to ask David a few questions last month about his career so far, his impressive season with Gryf and his ambitions for the future.

English Players Abroad: Having been at Maidenhead United, were you hoping to play more in the first team there?

David Rogalski: Yeah I was definitely hoping to be more involved especially after I had a really good year for the under-18s. As a team for the under-18s we had a great year so I thought some of the other lads also deserved a chance but in the end they didn’t.

EPA: How did the move to Tychy happen in 2017? Had playing in Poland always been a possibility?

DR: Going on trial to Poland was always a possibility but I felt for me it was kind of a last option. I believed that I would have other opportunities in England but as I was contracted to Maidenhead those opportunities became unavailable. This lead to me missing almost a year of football when I was turning 19 so I was set that the following summer I would go to Poland. So before the 2017/18 season I went on trial with Tychy and later signed a contract.

On his arrival at Tychy

EPA: Were the training and matches with Tychy a massive step up from what you were used to back in England? Did you feel you could comfortably manage the step-up?

DR: The main difference was that I was training full time. In Poland the second and third level are very physical leagues similar to lower leagues in England – they also seem to be a lot more tactical. I kind of felt that at certain teams it’s hard to express yourself. The whole year before the move I was training individually a lot so I felt that I was ready for the step up.

EPA: How much have you enjoyed this season getting regular game time at Gryf? It must be good to play in front of passionate support?

DR: My first year in Poland was a big struggle, having scored a lot of goals for the reserves but not getting a real chance in the first team was extremely frustrating so to finally start getting 90 minutes [out on loan] and having the manager believe in me was a big relief. It’s always great to play in front of passionate fans, the biggest crowd we played in front of was 15,000 so that was an amazing experience I definitely won’t be forgetting.

EPA: You’ve done really well on a personal level, did you expect to score as many goals as you have?

DR: I think I have done alright, to be honest i was hoping for a few more goals. But when I look at our club (our facilities, ground etc.) compared to some of the other clubs in our division I feel like I did quite well. Also all my goals have come from open play. From the beginning of the season the main aim is to help the team stay up in the division, so hopefully having two games left we can secure safety [safety was secured].

On joining Gryf on loan

EPA: What are you hoping for next season? Do you think you can get a chance in the Tychy first team?

DR: It’s hard to tell what the future holds for me next year. A lot depends on whether the manager will stay at Tychy. In my opinion, I think that the best for me will be if I find a different team, as I don’t believe i will get a look in there.

EPA:  Finally, what are the main differences between English and Polish football?

DR: Well a big difference is the quality of the pitches and training facilities in the lower leagues in Poland which aren’t the best, but it is definitely improving a lot. Another difference that in England most teams want to go forward as fast as possible but in Poland most coaches want to retain possession and build from there. In terms of physicality, it is very similar.

You can follow David on Instagram here @drogalski9.


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