The young great Czech hope, Václav Kadlec, needs to hit the ground running this season. Václav had a hugely underwhelming season last year; he collected more tattoos than league goals. In 25 league appearances Kadlec only mustered 4 solitary goals, of course playing out of his favored central position didn’t help his goal tally, but his contribution to Sparta Prague was minimal.
At the start of 2011 Kadlec was named in the German newspaper “Bild” as one of the top ten 18 year old footballers in the world. It appears that Kadlec already believes his own hype, despite breaking through into the Czech national team and being billed as one of the world’s biggest talents, Kadlec was struggling to find a place in Sparta’s first team during the second half of the season.
The African duo of Bony Wilfried and Leonard Kweuke were the main strikers for Sparta last season, forcing Kadlec to play as a left winger. Maybe this is all part of his education to become one of the best strikers in Europe, but his performances out wide were mainly anonymous. His pace, power and directness is what sets him apart in the Czech league. But having Man Mountain Leonard Kweuke ahead of him in the pecking order up front must be frustrating for the Czech.
Ideally, Kadlec and Kweuke could strike up a deadly partnership in a 442 system, but Jozef Chovanec is not Kevin Keegan so he prefers to employ a variation of 433/451 system which means Kweuke is the main man up top and the rest of Sparta’s strikers have to feed off of his scraps. To be honest, the system has been working well for the team; despite the fact Kweuke has legs like tree trunks and looks more suited to a world’s strongest man contest.
Sparta had rejected a substantial bid from Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem for Kadlec during the January transfer window, Sparta were reluctant to sell just yet, although the player sounded a little disappointed in not moving to the Dutch league. “It was a tempting offer and I would probably not have prevented it. But life goes on, I’m not crushed.” Said the 19 year-old Sparta striker.
Internationally, you would expect Kadlec to be the focal point of the Czech Republic U21 side which travelled to Denmark in this summers European Championships. But no, coach Jakub Dovalil preferred Tomas Pekhart, Libor Kozak and even Jan Chramosta ahead of the Sparta forward. His role was mainly restricted to brief cameo appearances from the bench.
Maybe this tells you something about the players’ attitude, his managers at club and international level are finding reasons not to pick him, which seem not to be talent related. Whether it be a disruptive or lazy attitude? Lack of effort in training? Playboy lifestyle? Im struggling to work out why Václav Kadlec is not the centre of the Sparta and Czech U21 side, because the 19 year old has definitely got talent. I have seen him score a screamer against CSKA Moscow in the Europa League, also scoring a wonderful poachers goal against Palmero.
When quizzed about Sparta’s 4-5-1 formation and playing on the left wing, Václav replied . “If I had to get on the left, I would certainly not be angry. I’m still nineteen, I can be glad that I play at all.” It appears another season on the wing beckons for Kadlec, the learning curve looks set to continue. But he isn’t the only one, just ask Arsenal’s Theo Walcott – who has spent the last 5 years playing out wide despite seeing himself as a central striker.
Every time Kadlec comes on to the pitch you immediately notice his energy and power and willingness to run at defenders, I can’t help but think if Václav spent more time on the training pitch than the tattoo parlour he would be making a bigger impact for club and country.