Club: Mlada Boleslav
After being gradually (over the course of a year) eased into Mlada Boleslav’s first-team squad, Lukas Hulka was on the verge of being a regular by the time 2014 at its end. Aside from one rather high profile wobble against Plzen, the youngster looked comfortable in his own skin when dealing with more experienced opposition and seemed to be a natural fit in the Synot Liga.
Physical enough to duel with strikers, sure in the tackle and capable – but admittedly not excellent – on the ball, it looked like 2015 would be potentially big year for the centre-back.
Sadly, like many of his peers on this list, 2015 has been a complete write-off.
Everything started as it should: He reported to training in early January, underwent the routine post-Christmas physical examinations and went with his teammates to Portugal to play in the Atlantic Cup, an annual friendly competition held in early February.
Hulka was outclassed in those games as Mlada Boleslav shipped goals left right and centre. But come the return of the Synot Liga and the visit of Hradec Kralove, he remained in the heart of Bolek’s defence.
Boleslav allowed Hradec to come from two goals down to salvage a draw at the Adidas Arena and while it would be unfair to single the young Hulka out for this collapse, he was at least partly culpable for both goals thanks to one wayward pass and one limp aerial challenge. It was a similar story the following week.
His season (and year) ended in March when he picked up a serious knee injury against Ceske Budejovice.
The one shining light for Hulka is that Mlada Boleslav has extended his contract by a further year.
The bad news is that after savagely chopping and changing his defence at the start of this season, Karel Jarolim looks to have finally settled on his first choice back four and that competition for the two centre-back roles is incredibly fierce.
He might have to settle to a prolonged stint in the Juniorska Liga before seeing any first-team action. Hopefully, though, it will be a case of taking a step back in preparation for a gigantic leap forward.
- Posted by Chris Boothroyd
- On 9th January 2016