European import overcame early Barnsley disaster to become firm Oakwell favourite: View

Michał Helik got sent off in his first Barnsley game, but he quickly put that behind him and demonstrated his quality. Michał Helik had a slow start as a Barnsley player, but he improved significantly in the following two years.

The Polish centre-back joined the Tykes in September 2020 and made his league debut ten days later, starting against Reading at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

As league debuts go, it couldn’t have gone much worse for Helik. His team was trounced 2-0 by the Royals, and he was issued his marching orders in the 42nd minute when he was shown a straight red card for a

Lucas Joao was called for a foul. Things became even worse for the Tykes that day, as they finished with nine men after Helik’s centre-back partner Mads Andersen was sent out for two yellow cards.

Helik’s start in English football was everything but ideal, but it wasn’t long before Barnsley fans saw the best of him.

Michał Helik improved from a rough start to become a brilliant performer for Barnsley. Barnsley nearly survived relegation to League One on the last day of the 2019/20 season, and the club strengthened throughout the summer to prevent another relegation struggle in 2020/21.

Helik was one of a number of signings, and it’s fair to say that the Polish defender was a bit of an unknown quantity after spending his entire club career in the Polish Ekstaklasa.

Michal Helik overcame early Barnsley disaster to become firm Oakwell  favourite

As mentioned above, Helik’s Barnsley career got off to a disastrous start, but manager Gerhard Struber remained patient with the defender, and reaped the rewards.

The Tykes made a dreadful start to the 2020/21 season, but after Struber was replaced by Valerien Ismael, they soon began to move up the table and Helik was instrumental in that.

The defender’s form was so impressive for Barnsley that he received his first ever call-up to the Polish national team, and won seven caps throughout the duration of 2021.

It became apparent that Barnsley had picked up a hidden gem in Helik, and remarkably, he helped them reach the Championship play-offs, an incredible turnaround after their start to the season.

However, Helik and Barnsley were unable to finish the fairytale, losing to Swansea in the play-off semi-finals.

Michal Helik Barnsley
Barnsley finished the following season at the bottom of the table and were relegated, but Helik had done enough to earn a move to Championship club Huddersfield Town, who had reached the play-off final the previous season.

The Polish defender made 89 appearances for Barnsley and scored seven goals, so he’s warmly regarded at Oakwell.

Michał Helik’s Career After Leaving Barnsley

Helik continued to excel after leaving Barnsley for Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield, despite playing for a struggling Terriers team.

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The defender was runner-up for the club’s Player of the Year award last season and won it again in 2023/24, demonstrating the influence he has had since signing in the summer of 2022.
Despite being the club’s leading goalscorer with nine, he was unable to keep them from relegation this season. It’s fair to conclude that Helik was not to blame for the Terriers’ relegation, as evidenced by the fact that he was the club’s leading scorer despite playing as a defender.

With a year left on his contract at the John Smith’s Stadium, it would not be surprising if Helik moved, as he is clearly too excellent to be playing League One football, and he demonstrated following Barnsley’s relegation in 2022 that he does not want to stay there.

He’ll have plenty of suitors this summer, especially given his contract status, and despite two Championship relegations, he’s proven to be a very competent player at this level.

His tenure in English football may not have started well, but he has now shown to be a good Championship player, and Barnsley should be praised for signing him.

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