Burnley striker Matej Vydra set for watching brief at Euro 2020
Clarets striker Matej Vydra is facing a watching brief as the Czech Republic kick-off their Euro 2020 campaign against Scotland on Monday at Hampden Park.
And, like much of his Burnley career to date, the forward will have to bide his time for an opportunity in the tournament.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Patrik Schick is first-choice frontman in a 4-2-3-1 formation – the 25-year-old has 11 goals in 26 appearances for his country, and has good pedigree in Italy and Germany, playing in the Champions League semi-final for RB Leipzig last season while on loan from Roma.
Vydra is also up against Adam Hložek of Sparta Prague, Michael Krmenčík of Club Brugge, who has been on loan at PAOK, and Tomáš Pekhart of Legia Warsaw.
Vydra was not involved on Tuesday night in the side’s last warm-up game, a 3-1 win over Albania in Zlin, with Schick opening the scoring, as coach Jaroslav Šilhavý decided he did not need to see him in action in the friendly, aware of what he can offer to the side.
He was left out of the squad entirely, with the team on duty likely to be the one that faces the Scots.
So despite his fine end to the season with Burnley, scoring three in his last nine starts – forming a partnership with Chris Wood worth 11 goals in that time – Vydra will have to be patient if he is to create Burnley history.
If he gets on the pitch at any stage, he will become only the third Burnley player to play in a European Championship Finals, after Stephen Ward for the Republic of Ireland and Sam Vokes for Wales at France 2016.
Vydra will be Burnley’s sole representative at the finals, after Nick Pope was cruelly ruled out of the England squad, having to have a cartilage operation after the final game of the Premier League season.
And while there has been constant speculation about Vydra during his time at Turf Moor, where he has largely struggled to establish himself as a regular starter, he is expected to return to Barnfield for pre-season – albeit later than the rest of his teammates, as he gets a break after the tournament.
Much depends on any offers that may come in for him, as he enters the final year of his contract, but I understand the former Watford and Derby County forward is, as it stands, likely to stay at the club.
That late return from the Euros, however, won’t help his cause, as he looks to hit the ground running next season and show he should be the foil for Burnley’s first choice marksman Wood, with Ashley Barnes and Jay Rodriguez likely to be champing at the bit to restore themselves to the starting line-up.
Boss Sean Dyche may also look to move away from his preference for two strikers, having toyed with a 4-4-1-1 system in three of the last seven games of the season, with midfielder Josh Brownhill playing off Wood.