Even the finest connoisseur of Czech football would have struggled to correctly predict the leading scorer after ten matches of the new top-flight season.
Stanislav Tecl's nine goals for promoted FC Vysočina Jihlava have left him alongside David Lafata in the scoring chart, and have helped his team make a positive opening. The 22-year-old, who is the youngest captain in the Czech First League, also opened his international account with two goals in his country's final group game in 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying. He spoke to UEFA.com ahead of the play-off against Russia, with the first leg at home on Friday.
UEFA.com: How does it feel to be the leading scorer of the Czech league at such a young age?
Stanislav Tecl: It is a pleasant feeling, but I know it does not mean anything as only eight games have been played. I am glad my team-mates trust me and provide passes for me to try and score. Although we're newcomers to the league, we refuse to simply use defensive tactics, and prefer attacking football. We enjoy that, and so do our fans.
UEFA.com: It is also very rare that a team has such a young captain. How did that happen?
Tecl: I take it as a sign of appreciation of the work I have done for Vysočina. It is a great honour that the coach and my team-mates awarded me the armband. It is a great responsibility as well. But of course when it's necessary, more experienced players speak up in the dressing room.
UEFA.com: You scored your first goals for the U21 side against Wales. How much did that please you?
Tecl: It is always satisfying to score for my club, but when you score for the national team, it is even better. I enjoyed that also because my parents and my girlfriend were at the game, I shared the happiness with them.
UEFA.com: What do you make of the play-off draw which pitted the Czech Republic against Russia?
Tecl: As a seeded team, we were a bit unlucky to get such a strong side. They were winners of their group, and will be a tough opponent to beat. But we cannot change our luck. We have to be prepared as best possible. I will be ready to help the team as much as I can.
UEFA.com: Would it be the pinnacle of your career to play in the final tournament in Israel?
Tecl: It would be the fulfilment of a dream, not only for me, but for all my team-mates. It would be a great new experience for all of us. But first we have to make the final step and qualify from the play-offs.
UEFA.com: Many players, such as Vladimír Darida or Václav Kadlec, have been promoted from the U21 side to the senior national team. Do you feel your chance to follow them is coming?
Tecl: It is my ultimate ambition to do that, but it is too early to see it as a question of days. Everybody watches the U21 team's games, and good performances may help speed up careers and fulfil dreams. I hope it will be the Czech dream that will be fulfilled in the play-offs.
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