Having impressed in the UEFA Youth League for AFC Ajax, 19-year-old Czech forward Václav Černý is looking to make the step up to the senior side in 2015/16.
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With the Czech Republic currently playing host to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, UEFA.com thought it the perfect opportunity to look at the next wave of young talent in the country. To do so, we turned our attentions to Amsterdam, where Václav Černý is making a bid for the AFC Ajax first team.
Name: Václav Černý
Club: AFC Ajax
Date of birth: 7 May 1997
Preferred foot: left
They say …
Shortly after I took up my position in Ajax my colleagues recommended I had a look at one player. It was Václav. I needed only two minutes to understand why they wanted me to do that. You can recognise talent at the first sight. I cannot compare us, maybe I was a bit faster but Vašek is definitely more skilful.
Marc Overmars, former Ajax, Arsenal FC, FC Barcelona and Netherlands winger, now Ajax's director of football
As a boy he was outstanding and won a lot of individual prizes. He is a very effective footballer with creative ideas. He has opted for the career outside his country and decided to play in the Ajax academy. Now there's a very important step in front of him, he has to adapt and settle in senior football. This transition is not easy and we'll see how he manages. There's no doubt he's an interesting and talented player.
Karel Krejčí, Czech national team assistant coach
Born in Pribram, about 50km from capital Prague, he started playing football in the 1. FK Příbram academy led by his father who is the head coach of junior teams. Černý was invited to train with Juventus, Hamburger SV and finally Ajax, where he signed a professional contract in 2015. A reliable goalscorer for the Czech Under-16, U17 and U19 national sides, he has shown his skills in the UEFA Youth League and is knocking on the door of Ajax's first team. Voted the talent of the year in 2012 and 2013 and the best junior player of 2014.
Playing style …
Finishes well and is well capable of beating opponents to work a good shooting position. Fast both with and without the ball, he is a forward with all the technique, speed and ability to decide matches.
Shades of …
Since Milan Baroš ended his career, the Czechs are looking for his replacement. Černý could be the one.
Eureka moment …
14 November 2014, the group stage of UEFA Youth League against FC Barcelona; Černý's fourth appearance in the competition is marked with the only goal of the game in the 60th minute.
Best-case scenario …
Černý has been closely watched by Czech U21 coach Jakub Dovalil as well as senior coach Pavel Vrba. The 19-year-old is devoted to football and may be the man to lead a new generation of talent in the senior team.
He says …
"I've learned Dutch in seven months. It was hard as I had to go through English. I didn't expect to be able to understand jokes in the dressing room. I wanted to make it easier for everybody as they would not be forced to translate instructions into English. They told me nobody has learned so quickly. I know these are things that can be very important to build up a successful career."