PROFILE | Przemysław Frankowski: Lens’ emboldened but low-key star will be central to European push

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This year saw more of the same from Lens’ Polish buccaneering wing-back, who became one of Ligue 1’s signings of the previous season. The Sang et Or are currently defying expectations via a title chase with Paris Saint-Germain, and Przemyslaw Frankowski is a huge part of the progress made by Franck Haise’s side to compete at the higher echelons of French football.

In a mining region which was historically marked by the arrival of a large Polish workforce in the 1920s, “Frankie” quickly endeared himself to the Sang et Or faithful by scoring (again) against Lille to do the Ligue 1 double in the Derby du Nord. His continuing form and relentless hard work wasn’t quite enough to make it into Ligue 1’s team of the season, but a solid start to the new season as part of a Lens side fighting for Europe is an exciting prospect for the Polish international.

The departure of fellow wing-back Jonathan Clauss to Marseille was a big worry at the start of the season, but it put Frankowski in the spotlight, who started the season in typically adventurous fashion. Whilst the leaky nature of Lens’ defence in the more inconsistent periods of the Sang et Or’s 21/22 season might have been criticised, Frankowski has been part of a tightened defence this season, with only PSG having conceded fewer goals so far.

His versatility has proved an asset, making the right side, having previously been used mostly on the left, his own whilst also covering the left to the same effect. During the World Cup, Frankowski was mobilised higher up the pitch as a left midfielder in a more conservative 4-4-2 system which showed a grittier side to the player – yet he couldn’t stop a blistering performance from Kylian Mbappé in the last 16 to knock out his national side.

However, as Frankowski returns to France and Ligue 1, the full focus returns to creating history with Lens this season. Franck Haise will need similar performances in 2023 from his key man on the wing to make that happen.

George Boxall | GFFN

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