22 Striker Eintracht Frankfurt Czech Republic
2014 has been...
A frustrating year for the Czech Republic’s young hope.
Václav Kadlec’s rise through the international ranks was nothing short of meteoric. After first representing the Under-17s in 2007, he’d also played for the Under-16s and Under-18s by the end of 2009. In 2010, he became the youngest ever Czech goalscorer by netting on his senior debut at the age of 18. After that he played for the Under-21s too, just for good measure, and was voted the nation’s best young talent.
It’s been a mixed international career since then and it’s stalled this year, along with his impact at club level with Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Bundesliga. Born in Prague, Kadlec played his youth football with Bohemians 1905 before being snapped up by Sparta Prague. Between 2008 and 2013 he scored between one-in-three and one-in-four and became a Czech champion. In August 2013 he fulfilled a childhood dream and made the move to Germany.
After a reasonably good start in Frankfurt, 2014 has been far from satisfactory. The fans aren’t particularly delighted with him, and it soon became accepted that he was a signing who’d lost his way. He had started only a handful of games – he ended 2013/14 with 14 starts in total – and there’s no question that his absences were the result of anything other than his inability to impress.
This season he’s struggled to even find the opportunities to do so. Stern competition in the form of the flexibly used Alex Meier, Lucas Piazon and Swiss international Haris Seferović has glued the Czech striker to the bench and his infrequent cameos haven’t been up to standard.
Yet there is an undeniable amount of quality in Kadlec’s play as well as a clear style and more than a slither of football intelligence. It’s not easy to pinpoint exactly where he falls short, but the impact on matches just isn’t there often enough.
When he’s brought on as a substitute he works hard to get involved, dropping deep and aiming to link the play with his back to goal, always keen to get on the ball. When Eintracht are attacking he pushes right up into a traditional striker position and shows some good movement there. He makes clever runs, has deceptive pace and moves well in the box.
For all the ability, Kadlec is an energetic little scrapper who likes to be involved and loves to get into the channels to buzz around and catch the opposition napping. Often that’s a function of being thrown into a game late with Frankfurt coach Thomas Schaaf needing something out of the game, but it’s a role for which he looks well suited. And yet it’s that tenacity, that desperation to be involved, which is both his biggest asset in a difficult year and the reason his irritation is beginning to show.
Kadlec will do well to keep a lid on his unhappiness. He must be as annoyed at his own lack of effectiveness as he is at the fact that his chances to make a mark seem to be ebbing away, though he is at least being used from the bench in recent weeks.
A loan move is, apparently, not a possibility. With Seferović no stranger to suspensions, and Frankfurt not averse to going behind, Kadlec should find himself next in line sooner or later. A spell away, however, might be better for him on an individual basis. The simple truth of the matter is that when he is deployed, he needs to make something happen, and soon.
Outwith that, the young Czech might well be agitating for a move as soon as January, not that it seems especially likely that Frankfurt will accede to that so soon for such a young player. Times are tough for Kadlec but he has the ability to turn things around. It won’t be easy.
"He has fallen more and more out of favor at Frankfurt and has been spending most of this season on the bench, has a lot of work to do to win new coach Thomas Schaaf over." - Cristian Nyari
"Since the beginning of last season, Vaclav Kadlec has played a hand in nine league goals for Eintracht Frankfurt (six goals and three assists)." - OptaJoe
D Needs to start taking his opportunities very quickly before they dwindle
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