Pole position! How England’s World Cup bid could bring the memories back for Boston United’s Stefan Galinski

Stefan Galinski in action for Derby County.
Stefan Galinski in action for Derby County.

As the World Cup prepares to kick off in Brazil, Boston United’s Stefan Galinski will be remembering the night he lined up against England.

The Pilgrims defender made his under 18s debut for Poland against the Three Lions at Wycombe Wanderers’ Adams Park in November 2010.

Stefan Galinski.

Stefan Galinski.

And if Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain takes to the pitch in South America this summer, Galinski will be having flashbacks to night he was given the task of marking the Ox.

“I got a phone call saying Poland had watched me in a game and wanted me to train with them,” said Galinski, then on the books of Derby County. “They were based here at the time, about to play England.

“I went down to Wycombe to link up with them there. I played, did the national anthem. It was brilliant.”

The England team ran out comfortable 3-0 winners that night but it was not the result - but the experience of taking on the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Chelsea’s Pat Bamford - which sticks in Galinski’s mind.

“I’ve got the team sheet at home,” he continued. “You look at it now, and it makes you think.

“We lost 3-0, unfortunately. But, to be fair, the level from that country to this country is different altogether. On the field everything ran like clockwork for England.”

Galinski qualifies to represent the White Eagles through his Polish grandfather, who settled in Derbyshire at the end of the Second World War.

The centre back has a closeness to his family - he lodged with his grandmother while rising through the Rams’ youth ranks - but while he took his grandfather’s name, he didn’t pick up his language skills.

“I don’t speak any Polish so it was very tough,” Galinski continued. “There was an interpreter who helped me out with a few basic commands of the football pitch, but football’s an international language.

“You head it, kick it and give it to the same colour shirt.”

But what happens when England face Poland without Galinski on the pitch? Where does his allegiance lie then

He added: “I always want England to do well, I’ve been here since birth.

“But if England and Poland were playing each other there’d always be a part of me that wants Poland to win, no matter what.

“If they met in a World Cup, I’d want Poland to win.

“If my football ever progressed, I’d pledge my allegiance to them as they were there for me when I was 18. I’d like to repay them if I was ever to go on any further. But who knows?

“I’ve still got that red shirt at home on the mantel piece and it’ll always be there.”

He may have that shirt, but there is one piece of memorabilia from that night which is of little use to Galinski.

On earning his cap he was presented with large a bottle of Polish vodka, currently valued at around £800.

“I don’t drink, so it’s not much use to me,” Galinski added. “I gave it to my dad. He’s got it now.”