These are the Jedenact – 11 promising Czech youngster to keep an eye on over the next twelve months
The future is often hard to predict. Nobody knows what lies around the corner, or what will happen next month let alone tomorrow. The same can be said of football; clubs rise and fall, players performances ebb and flow week-by-week, but that is the beauty of the game. Unpredictability reigns supreme.
That is why this list, of eleven talented individuals, should not be taken too seriously.
With all that in mind let CZEFootball present you with eleven names. Eleven footballers who are worth keeping an eye on throughout the course of the year. These are the Jedenáct.
When Czech football breaks up for the year, sometime around November, these players will be revisited to see how their year has fared.
The criteria for selection was pretty straight-forward: The players must have been born between 01.01.1993 and 01.01.1996 and they must not be known to wider audiences. This explains why the rather obvious selection of Tomas Kalas (Chelsea) was omitted and why the highly-rated pair of Ales Mateju (PSV) and Vaclav Cerny (Ajax) are also absent from the list.
Preference was given to those who are in the first-team, or on the fringes, already (when playing in the Czech Republic).
Daniel Holzer (18.08.95) – Banik Ostrava – Winger
The youngest of the eleven, Holzer has established himself in a struggling Ostrava side and has stood out, providing six assists in his ten appearances up until the winter break. Not quite the finished article, but the raw potential is shining through and it is shining brightly. But with Banik struggling, how will his immediate career pan out as the Silesian giants fight against a backdrop of uncertainty both on and off the pitch?
Matej Hybs (03.01.93) – Sparta Prague – Defender
This time last year Matej Hybs was preparing to line up against Chelsea at the Generali Arena in the Europa League, and ousted Manuel Pamic for the rest of the season. Now, with Costa Nhamoinesu established as the best left-back in the country, a tough twelve months stand in front youth international who seemingly can’t get a look in for love nor money. Talented, but perhaps his future lies elsewhere?
Michael Luftner (14.03.94) – Teplice – Defender
Luftner was turning heads as Teplice were gradually becoming the dark horses who were unexpectedly keeping pace with Sparta and Viktoria. Sadly, the centre-back suffered a serious knee injury whilst with the Czech u21 side and went under the knife in November. A breakthrough 2013 was curtailed, but what will 2014 have in store?
Milan Lutonsky (06.08.93) – Zbrojovka Brno – Midfielder
Sparta’s game against Brno last season was the worst game of football that I have had the pleasure of watching live in a long time. But, with that in mind, Milan Lutonsky stood above his team-mates as Zbrojovka slipped to defeat. After marshalling the Brno midfield last season it has been a rocky couple of months so far this term, but with injury problems behind him, Lutonský has the chance to assume an important position once more.
Dominik Masek (10.07.95) – Hamburg – Forward
The youngest ever debutante in the Gambrinus Liga, Mašek made a move to Hamburg at the start of 2012 and has subsequently been turning out for the youth side on a fairly regular basis. Recently, though, he has been picked to make the step up and has a few appearances for Hamburg II in the Regionalliga under his belt. Capable of playing anywhere in the front six, the eighteen year-old was instrumental in the Czech u19’s qualifying group in last autumn when he was utilised as a number 10.
Lukas Masopust (12.02.93) – Vysocina Jihlava – Winger
Three goals and one assist for the Jihlava winger appear like a mediocre return for such a highly promisingly player, but the statistics belie the ability of Lukas Masopust who has allegedly been on the radar of Sparta for some time. With Jihlava a point off bottom, it will be an interesting year ahead for the twenty-one year-old who is a regular fixture in the u21 side as a number 10. One must only recall his Gambrinus Liga debut last season when he tore apart Slavia Praha to see just what he can do at this level. A return to form is required.
Petr Nerad (06.02.94) – Bohemians 1905 – Midfielder
Instrumental in Bohemians’ promotion season last year, Nerad has adapted to his first full Gambrinus Liga campaign well and seems destined for the top flight even if his squad’s immediate future may not. A never-say-die attitude on the pitch combined with versatility make him an exciting midfield prospect to watch for the next calendar year.
Stefan Simic (20.01.95) – AC Milan – Defender
Without making any competitive appearance for Slavia, Simic was the subject of a six-figure bid from Genoa who put him straight into their youth system alongside fellow Jedenact nominee Lukas Zima. The right-back has since left the club, moving upwards to AC Milan with whom he has regularly featured in both the UEFA Youth League and the Campionato Primavera. It’s hard to say whether he’ll make it in Milan, but his appearances for the Czech youth sides indicate he will make it at the top level some day.
Lukas Stratil (29.1.94) – Pribram, on loan from Viktoria Plzen – Forward
The past couple of months have been eventful for Lukas Stratil and if his recent history is anything to go by, the next year could be something special. After being offered the chance to join Viktoria Plzen’s mid-winter training camp, the forward impressed enough to become Dušan Uhrin Jr’s first signing (though he has been loaned back to Príbram). A real live-wire, Stratil has been used sparing so far this season, but has chipped in with three goals from the bench. One to watch for the latter half of the year for sure.
Lukas Zima (09.01.94) – Reggiana, on loan from Genoa – Goalkeeper
Aged seventeen, Zima was transferred from Slavia to Genoa and has spent the resulting months playing in the Campionato Primavera, racking up forty-two appearances for Il Grifone and keeping thirteen clean sheets in the process. While he is undoubtedly talented, the next year could make-or-break the twenty year-old. A loan move to Reggiana will test his mettle as he battles for first-team chances and, for the first time in a while, he is in the international wilderness as he moves up to the u21’s. 2014 will be a big year.
Jaromir Zmrhal (02.08.93) – Slavia Prague – Midfielder
Ondrej Petrak and Jaromir Zmrhal are, in many ways, alike: They both graduated from Slavia’s youth ranks; they have been under-appreciated amidst the catastrophes and the pair have had to continuously fight off competition from established names brought in to the Vrsovice as quick fixes. Whilst Petrák has made the jump to the Bundesliga, Zmrhal remains in Prague, but there is the belief here that Slavia should, in some way, be moulded around the twenty year-old.
These lists are always open for debate, so feel free to tweet or place comment below about those individuals who you think should have made this list.
- Posted by Chris Boothroyd
- On 14th February 2014