Graham Potter must make bold Michal Karbownik decision to combat Solly March injury
Poland teenage left back Michal Karbownik must have been mightily close to Brighton's starting line-up at Burnley yesterday
Karbownik was recalled from his loan at Legia Warsaw last month having been signed from the Polish club for a reported £4.5m last October.
Karbownik,19, is one of Poland's brightest young talents and had attracted interest from Barcelona, who were eyeing him as a long term replacement for Jordi Alba, with Tottenham, PSV Eindhoven, and a number of La Liga clubs all said to be keen.
Brighton however made the decisive move and the versatile left sided player signed, along with his Poland international teammate Jakub Moder for a combined fee of £14.5m.
Moder looked the player most likely to make the break through into the first team and Albion head coach Graham Potter previously stated his plan to take his time with Karbownik and allow him to slowly settle in.
But circumstances can often accelerate that process and the injury Solly March sustained at Liverpool, coupled with Bernardo's departure to RB Salzburg, means Karbownik and Dan Burn are Potter's main options on the left.
Burn was excellent against Liverpool and his tireless display up and down the left flank at Anfield must have taken a huge toll on his 6ft 7in frame.
Somehow Burn recovered and within 48 hours he produced another solid performance at left wing back during Brighton's determined 1-1 draw at Burnley, and Karbownik was spared having to make his debut at one of the more hostile and physical Premier League environments.
March will have surgery on his injured knee and will be out for 12 weeks but Brighton will go again this Wednesday in the FA Cup at Leicester.
After the Burnley match, Potter strongly hinted he will make changes for the King Power and key players, such as Burn, could be rested.
Karbownik was one for the future but the demands of this very unusual season means he could be tested at the highest level very soon.
Potter has shown since his arrival from Swansea in 2019 that he's a coach willing put faith in younger players.
Tariq Lamptey, who has been sorely missed of late due to a hamstring injury, arrived in last January from Chelsea for a similar fee to Karbownik.
Lamptey was also seen as one for the future but he was given his chance, also at Leciester last season and made an instant impact.
“Football should decide really, rather than having a preconceived idea about anything," said Potter when asked if Karbownik is ready.
"Always be open-minded, think about the player as an individual, rather than what somebody else has done, and then make your own decision based on what you see every day and what the team needs.
"If we are being honest, you'd probably have thought Tariq (Lamptey) would not do that when he first came in.
"He [Karbownik] is a young player with a lot of versatility, plays both sides, right or left, can play in midfield as well.
"His age will say he has got a lot to improve, but at the same time, he has got some interesting qualities as well.
"Technically he's very good, any player that can play both sides of the pitch is generally that.
"He has good intelligence, so we are looking forward to working with him."