Pekhart stands out in provisional Czech squad

Coach Jakub Dovalil hopes that star striker Tomáš Pekhart will shine again at the finals after naming his provisional squad for Denmark, which contains several more senior internationals.

Tomáš Pekhart scored four goals in seven league games for Sparta
Tomáš Pekhart scored four goals in seven league games for Sparta ©Getty Images

Tomáš Pekhart is one of a number of players capped at senior level in the provisional Czech Republic squad for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Denmark.

Full national-team coach Michal Bílek has released Ondřej Mazuch, Marek Suchý, Lukáš Mareček, Jan Morávek and Pekhart for the finals, even though his side are competing in a friendly tournament in Japan in June.

U21 coach Jakub Dovalil is hoping Pekhart can be a star performer once more, having scored nine times in qualifying. However, the tall 21-year-old has played only seven league games since joining AC Sparta Praha on loan from FK Jablonec in the winter, though he has now signed a four-year contract at 1. FC Nürnberg. "Fortunately he looked very dangerous every time he got the chance to play," said Dovalil.

The Czechs will play a practice game against a local third division side and Dovalil will then trim two players from his 25-man squad before flying out to Denmark on 9 June. They meet Ukraine in their first Group B game three days later, and the coach said: "Our aim is to win a medal and qualify for Olympic tournament."

Provisional Czech Republic squad
Goalkeepers: Jan Hanuš (SK Slavia Praha), Marek Štěch (West Ham United FC), Tomáš Vaclík (FK Viktoria Žižkov).

Defenders: Ondřej Čelůstka (SK Slavia Praha), Pavel Čmovš (BV Veendam), Jan Hošek (FK Teplice), Jan Lecjaks (RSC Anderlecht), Ondřej Mazuch (RSC Anderlecht), Radim Řezník (FC Baník Ostrava), Marek Suchý (FC Spartak Moskva), Lukáš Vácha (FC Slovan Liberec).

Midfielders: Milan Černý (SK Slavia Praha), Bořek Dočkal (FC Slovan Liberec), Marcel Gecov (FC Slovan Liberec), Adam Hloušek (1. FC Kaiserslautern), Tomáš Hořava (SK Sigma Olomouc), Jan Kovařík (FK Jablonec), Lukáš Mareček (RSC Anderlecht), Jan Morávek (1. FC Kaiserslautern), Zdeněk Šmejkal (FC Baník Ostrava).

Forwards: Jan Chramosta (FK Mladá Boleslav), Václav Kadlec (AC Sparta Praha), Libor Kozák (S.S. Lazio), Tomáš Pekhart (1. FC Nürnberg), Jan Vošahlík (FK Jablonec).