After watching Slavia Prague labour their way to a 1-0 win over Mlada Boleslav it was clear to see that old head Stanislav Vlcek still has an important role to play. Vlcek is 34 years old and is in his second stint at Slavia Prague, his substitute appearance on Saturday swung the game in Slavia’s favour – infact his 30 minute cameo was enough to secure the man of the match award! It was an instinctive finish from Vlcek which delighted the fans inside the Synot Tip Arena and gave Slavia their first win of the season.
Infact, all three goals Slavia have scored this season have come from players aged over 30 (two from Karol Kisel and one from Stanislav Vlcek). At the other end of the spectrum for Slavia is 19 year old Jakub Hora, Hora has featured in all 3 games this season and his yet to find the net. Jakub is full of running and enthusiasm, chasing down every ball but the intelligence is not quite there yet – something he can pick up by watching Vlceks positioning and general play.
It’s clear to see that the Czech league is made up of young hungry players looking for a move to a bigger European club and the older veteran players who have come back to the Czech Republic to finish their careers. The two biggest examples of this would be Tomas Repka and Matej Vydra.
Sparta Prague captain Tomas Repka has earned a career from hard tackling and no-nonsense defending (that would be putting it mildly) but there is no doubt he was Sparta’s key player in their title-winning season last year. Sparta Prague without defensive hardnut Repka are a completely different team, their 1-0 defeat today highlights this point – Repka is currently suspended for spitting at a player.
Banik Ostrava sold 18 year old Matej Vydra for £5.5m to Udinese this summer, Vydra had played a total of 14 games for Ostrava last season and scored 4 goals, a fairly modest return. Ostrava couldn’t turn down an offer of this size but its a shame that Vydra didn’t stay in the Czech Republic and play regular football for Ostrava and become a hero. Im sure his chances will be limited at Udinese and this will hinder the youngsters development.
While there are promising young players like Hora, Zakostelsky and Kadlec in the Czech Gambrinus Liga its the veterans like Vlcek and Repka who are making the difference.