Aston Villa's Matty Cash tries to tackle Manchester United's Alejandro Garnacho (right) during the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Manchester United at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Nov 6, 2022. (RUI VIEIRA / AP)
UMM SALAL, Qatar - Poland defender Matty Cash had a special request for Aston Villa teammate and Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez ahead of their meeting at the World Cup: to get him Lionel Messi's shirt.
Premier League colleagues Cash and Martinez will turn rivals when Poland take on Argentina in Group C on Nov 30.
Asked if he had been in touch with Martinez ahead of the tournament, Cash told reporters on Saturday: "No bets. I asked him for Messi's shirt, if that's possible.
Obviously when we step on the pitch, we become rivals although we are teammates at Villa. It's another massive game against a really strong opponent. Everybody dreams of playing at a major tournament and it has come now (at the World Cup), which is really exciting.
Matty Cash, Poland defender
"Obviously when we step on the pitch, we become rivals although we are teammates at Villa. It's another massive game against a really strong opponent."
In Qatar, English-born defender Cash will play his first major tournament with Poland after being granted citizenship last year.
The 25-year-old, who has seven caps for Poland, qualified for citizenship through his mother and grandfather.
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"Everybody dreams of playing at a major tournament and it has come now (at the World Cup), which is really exciting," Cash said.
"I really like pressure and think playing in the Premier League is pressure in itself... I want to prove myself on the biggest stage and this is the time to do it."
Poland begins its World Cup campaign on Tuesday against Mexico, whom Cash described as a very strong team.
"Mexico are good but we have to believe we are better," he added. "In our camp, we have to focus on ourselves and get ourselves right."
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