BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Czech Republic goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik is determined to shine against Scotland in a bid to cement his status as successor to national hero Petr Cech.
Cech, 33, boasts 118 caps for his country and was this week named Czech footballer of the year for a record eighth time.
In his victory speech, Cech revealed that he would reconsider his international future following this summer’s European Championship in France.
The Arsenal stopper will be a notable absentee against Scotland this evening due to a calf injury picked up during the Gunners’ 2-1 FA Cup defeat against Watford earlier this month.
Basel number one Vaclik, as the only goalkeeper in the Czech squad to have been capped previously, is expected to deputise in Prague tonight – and is determined to prove he can handle the onerous task of following in Cech’s footsteps.
He said: “It’s something that I knew Petr might think about, but it was a surprise to hear him talking about the prospect [of international retirement] so openly.
“He has been at the top level for so long and when you play for great clubs and are challenging for trophies domestically and in Europe, the travelling can take it’s toll. Petr is a great man and a special goalkeeper, but maybe he wants to change that.
“I have received a few messages from my friends and family saying ‘you could get your chance after the Euros!’ However, that is a long time away. And it is upto Petr to decide how he feels after the tournament.
“I maybe have a small advantage over the other goalkeepers here [Tomas Koubek and Ales Hruska], as I have played five games and they haven’t made their debuts. But that can all change quickly and they are very talented.
“Any goalkeeper would have the motivation to become their country’s number one, so I know I have to perform when I get my chance.”