Tomasz Rzasa has had a stressful few months since the winter break. He even lost his starting place at the weekend to Mauricio Aros. But Bert van Marwijk put his confidence in the Pole for the big game last night and he wasn’t disappointed. Feyenoord dominated in the Philips Stadium, and that was thanks to the left back too, who negated the threat posed by speedy winger Dennis Rommedahl.

The Dane only got past Tomasz once all night and that is something the international can be understandably proud of. “I think I’ve shown how valuable I can be today.” After sitting it out on the bench at the weekend the Pole reclaimed his place on the left at the expense of the Chilean Aros. Tomasz’s performance was a monument to his commitment and confidence, helped in no small measure by his recent international call-up to the Polish squad that qualified for this summer’s World Cup faster than anyone else in Europe. “Yes, I was called up again, for the last international friendly against Japan on 27 March. It means I can assume to some degree that I’ll go to the World Cup. That is a great feeling.” All the criticism Rzasa has had to endure these past few months have clearly affected the defender, who turned 29 last Monday. “It’s no fun when you keep hearing or reading you’re the weakest link, but I’ve come to accept that I’ll apparently always be criticised. I cannot do anything else but work as hard as possible for the team and I think I’ve shown how valuable I can be today.” Surely we’d all like to wish Tomasz a belated happy birthday. And many more “happy returns.”

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