How Kevin De Bruyne and Hakim Ziyech influenced Phoenix signing Oskar Zawada

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In his early years, new Wellington Phoenix signing Oskar Zawada played at VfL Wolfsburg with Kevin De Bruyne and FC Twente with Hakim Ziyech, two players who made the player he is today.

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Zawada signed with Wolfsburg at age 16 and although he never got to play for the first team, he says he learnt a lot from his time in Germany while training with them.

“It was a really good time where I learnt a lot. I was born in Poland, but I was bred as a footballer in Germany at Wolfsburg,” he said.

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One player that was there training with him was current Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne, who Zawada says was someone he learnt off.

“I played friendly games and trained with Kevin De Bruyne. He was a really great player in every training, very effective and a great player to learn off,” he said.

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At 20, he got his first loan move to FC Twente in the Netherlands, which he said was a major turning point in his career.

“Going on loan was crucial for my development,” he said.

“I was proud that I could play and be a starter in the Eredivisie. The Netherlands was amazing for my football and my life too.

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Like De Bruyne in Germany, one player that stood out in the Netherlands was teammate Hakim Ziyech, who he said was already levels above the competition.

“Hakim Ziyech was doing such great things in trainings I couldn’t believe it was real,” Zawada said.

“He was very skinny but what he could do with the ball was amazing. I knew it was a matter of time before he went to a big club.”

Even though he played only 11 games at FC Twente, learning from Ziyech was another career-changing experience for Zawada.

“He was an inspiration for me,” he said.

“Watching him made me work harder so I could try to be as good as him.

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He inspired me to train more technically on the ball.”

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Zawada’s experiences in Europe early on have made him the player he is today, with great players making him learn to be a professional footballer.

“When you are around world-class players like De Bruyne and Ziyech you try to emulate them. Experiences with them are why I am the player I am today,” he said.

Zawada is now plying his trade in Wellington, where he will look to learn and keep growing as a footballer and person, like he did in Germany and the Netherlands with De Bruyne and Ziyech.

Feature Image Credit: Photomac

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Joshua Dean
Joshua Dean
Aspiring sports journalist! I love sports and enjoy writing, so added my two hobbies together! Studying Journalism at Massey University, Wellington.

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