Vrba overlooks Skoda, for now

David Lafata is named as the sole Czech striker, with Pavel Vrba opting to overlooking the in-form Milan Skoda – for a few days at least


Whether he was called up to the National Team or not, Milan Skoda was always destined to be the talking point. With a //european-championships/euro-2016 qualifier against Latvia and a friendly against neighbours Slovakia on the horizon, the Slavia Prague forward had played himself into contention by scoring, scoring and then scoring some more. Frankly, it seems a rather ludicrous proposition that in 2015, just twelve months removed from his deployment as a centre-back, that we should be in a position where the absence of Milan Skoda is the focal point of both press and social media discourse.

His case was strengthened by the fact that, outside of Matej Vydra, he is arguably the only Czech forward in form right now. David Lafata has looked somewhat awkward since the return of Vaclav Kadlec to Sparta Prague, whilst Kadlec himself has often been positioned out wide and is clearly being primed for a summer with the Under-21s, as is Matej Vydra. After a tumultuous winter, Tomas Necid has returned to Zwolle and hasn’t hit the ground running; others have failed to find the net and another left-field option in Libor Dosek looks a fraction of the forward he threatened to be back in the autumn.

Topping the Synot Liga scoring charts with thirteen in seventeen, Skoda appeared to be almost guaranteed a phone call.

But that call never came. Instead, Vrba has opted to utilise the considerable predatory talents of David Lafata again. “[David] Lafata was part of our autumn success and [we will] again use him,” Vrba said. But what about a Plan B?

The former Plzen boss admitted that he would be calling up one additional striker on Thursday, the morning after Slavia Prague travel to league leaders Viktoria Plzen, and the extra name is likely to be either that of Skoda or Zwolle’s Tomas Necid. It seems that if Skoda can turn in yet another good performance then his rags to riches story will be complete.

Elsewhere there is a return for Theo Gebre Selassie who will likely come straight into the starting eleven to replace the injured Pavel Kaderabek. Many have said that the Bremen defender is there because of Kaderabek’s knee troubles, but this writer believes that the affirmable Gebre Selassie would, on current form, have usurped Sparta’s right-back. Surprisingly however, Frantisek Rajtoral misses out, though he is expected to be called up on Thursday alongside either Skoda or Necid.

As well as a right-back and a centre-forward, Vrba is expected to nominate a stand-in right-winger and an additional goalkeeper for the trip to Zilina. Petr Cech is likely to skip the friendly in Slovakia and with the high profile Under 21 fixture against England out of the way, the likelihood is that one goalkeeper, probably Jiri Pavlenka, will be called up to warm the senior’s bench. As for the right-winger that position is open to debate. Milan Petrzela and Jan Kopic are the obvious options, but the likes of Kadlec and Vydra cannot be discounted.

There is also the return of Adam Hlousek to the senior squad, and Mario Holek too. Both should pull on the Czech jersey, but probably not in the game against Latvia.

Czech Republic Squad

Name Club Apps / Goals
Goalkeepers
Petr Cech Chelsea 112 / 0
Tomas Vaclik Basel 2 / 0
Defenders
Theo Gebre Selassie Werder Bremen 28 / 1
Michal Kadlec Fenerbahce 58 / 8
Marek Suchy Basel 19 / 0
David Limbersky Viktoria Plzen 30 / 0
Vaclav Prochazka Viktoria Plzen 8 / 0
Adam Hlousek Stuttgart 6 / 0
Mario Holek Sparta Prague 17 / 0
Midfielders
Vladimir Darida Freiburg 22 / 0
Borek Dockal Sparta Prague 14 / 5
Jaroslav Plasil Grondins Bordeaux 91 / 6
Ladislav Krejci Sparta Prague 11 / 2
Daniel Kolar Viktoria Plzen 22 / 2
Vaclav Pilar Viktoria Plzen 19 / 4
Martin Pospisil Jablonec 1 / 0
Tomas Rosicky Arsenal 98 / 22
Lukas Vacha Sparta Prague 6 / 0
Forwards
David Lafata Sparta Prague 34 / 8

Fixtures:

  • 28.03.15 | v Latvia – Eden, Prague
  • 31.03.15 | v Slovakia – Stadion Pod Dubnom, Zilina
  • Posted by Chris Boothroyd
  • On 16th March 2015

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