Pudil aiming to revive Czech Euro hopes with Wednesday

Daniel Pudil.
Daniel Pudil.
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AFTER a hectic week that brought the arrival of his second child, Sheffield Wednesday loanee Daniel Pudil could be forgiven for being relieved at not having to traipse around Europe as part of the Czech Republic squad.

The 30-year-old has been busy enough settling baby daughter Ella into the family’s new Yorkshire home.

As enjoyable as that has been, however, Pudil –- who marked last Saturday’s new arrival with his first goal for the Owls just a few hours later in a 3-1 home win over Preston North End – remains determined to fight his way back into the international reckoning.

“International football was a big reason why I wanted to move from Watford to Sheffield,” said the left-back with 27 caps to his name when speaking to The Yorkshire Post.

“If you are not playing 70 to 80 per cent of the games in a season then you don’t have a chance to go to the international games.

“First of all, I have to prove myself here. It is up to me and that is good. If I play games, maybe I can be in the squad.

“I want to be in the squad again, it would be an honour. I don’t mind if I don’t play, just be in the squad. I am still a good player and I think I can play in international football.”

The Czech Republic have already qualified for the Euro 2016 finals along with Iceland from Group A but there is still plenty to play for over the coming four days.

Not only is top spot still up for grabs between Pudil’s home country and Iceland but Turkey and Holland are also involved in a shoot-out for third place and a tilt at the play-offs.

The Dutch head to Prague tonight before the Czech Republic make the trip to Amsterdam on Wednesday.

First-choice left-back David Limbersky will not feature in either game following a recent charge of drink-driving but that still was not enough to earn a recall for Pudil, whose last start for the Czechs came in last November’s crucial 2-1 victory at home to Iceland.

A lack of first-team opportunities at Watford led to the defender falling by the wayside but the switch to Wednesday and an encouraging run of form by the left-sided player has revived hopes of a recall to the international set-up during the build-up to next summer’s finals in France.

“We have already qualified and I would like to be involved,” admitted the Prague-born defender, who played four times for his country last year after ending a two-year exile from the national set-up. “But it isn’t up to me.

“The manager will decide who is going and who is not. I can just play games and then, hopefully, I will have a chance.

“The Czech Republic has so many good players so it is difficult to be in the squad. We have done well in qualification.

“I hope we can finish top. But Iceland played well in the last qualification (for the World Cup) and lost in the play-offs (to Croatia). They have done well again.

“We beat them 2-1 at home but lost away. Iceland have so many good players from the Championship and deserve to have qualified. But I hope we win the group.

“Right now, I am not thinking about that. Sheffield Wednesday is my priority. I am here to work hard and do everything for the chairman and supporters, who deserve more than last year.”

Group A threatens to throw up the biggest story of qualifying if Holland miss out on even a play-off place. Tonight sees the under pressure Dutch travel to Kazakhstan.

The final round of games will see Turkey host Iceland as Holland tackle the Czechs. Turkey are favourites thanks to starting the final double-header two points ahead of the Dutch and having a better head-to-head record.