Max Stryjek has spoken of how he left Sunderland and his time at Livingston so far.
The Polish stopper signed for Gary Holt’s team during the summer, penning a three-year deal after a spell in the National League with Eastleigh. Previously, the keeper had been a promising prospect at Sunderland.
It never worked out for him though as he went down the English divisions to find regular football. Contract negotiations were underway at Sunderland as looked to extend his Stadium of Light stay, but he found out via social media his time with the Black Cats was over.
“The situation was that I was expecting an offer from Sunderland. I wanted to stay for another year,” said Stryjek (Angielskie Espresso).
“We were in the process of setting the terms and conditions, but during the holidays I learned from Twitter that I am not renewing the contract. There was nothing else to do. I made a deal with Eastleigh and signed a contract with them.
“When Sunderland informed me that he would not sign me. I even had an offer from Widzewa Łódź at the time, but I turned it down. As a young boy, I always said that I would play abroad, so returning to Poland would be such a return of a prodigal son for me.
“Then I didn’t want it. I found it better to play these 50 games in the fifth division and then attack more leagues in the Isles.”
Desire to play
So far at Livingston this season, Stryjek has played once in the Premiership, a very good display at that during the 0-0 draw with Rangers. He made a fingertip save from a Borna Barisic free kick late on to keep the game a stalemate.
Rangers loanee Robby McCrorie is number one for the season, with Livi’s Polish stopper saying he will play in the cup matches and against McCrorie’s parent club. He’s reflected on his move to Livi and time in West Lothian so far.
“An agent called me that he had a trial offer in Livingston,” said Stryjek. “It was June, so I started individual preparations for the season. I flew to Edinburgh in mid-June due to various restrictions caused by the virus.
“I showed up at the club in early July. After a week of training, I didn’t get an answer, but even though they hired Robby McCrorie from Rangers, they still wanted to look at me and I stayed for another week.
“After a few friendly matches, I finally got an offer and signed a contract. There’s definitely a leap, after all, it’s the Premiership. There is more interest from the fans, even life off the pitch. Media and prestige completely incomparable with Eastleigh.
“Football is much better, the approach is different. The requirements are higher, we are talking about full professionalism. We played very well (against Rangers) in defence. Managed to keep a clean account. I’ve made some good interventions, so overall I can rate my debut positively.
“Robby is a very good goalkeeper. Recently they even called him up to represent Scotland, so we can take advantage of our rivalry. I’m going to be number one, but it’s the coaches who make the personnel decisions.
“I wanted to show the best side and make them have a headache when choosing a goalkeeper. Before signing the contract, I asked for clear declarations because I could not imagine sitting on the bench all season. I wanted to play as many matches as possible.
“I got the answer that I start as a two, but if he scores a drop in form, Then I go into the goal. They also assured me that I would be against Rangers and in the cups. So I had three weeks to prepare. It worked out well.”