20 June 2015

Rosický advises Čech on what to expect at Arsenal

PRAGUE, Czech Republic—the members of the Nároďák were cooling down after an intense workout, the disappointment of a 2-1 loss to Iceland a week before still lingering in the air. Tomáš Rosický was exhausted, but that is nothing new for the Czech captain, who leaves it all on the field. The loss to Iceland marked his 100th cap but leaves the Czech Republic sitting three points above the Netherlands in Group A with two matches to play. Sitting nearby was Petr Čech, who eyed his comrade respectfully. "We have been through so much already together, "Čech thought to himself. "What will it be like to play for the same club?"


     "Tomáš?"
     "Hey, Petr. Tough practice, yeah?"
     "Indeed. Lots of new call-ups to bed in. Maybe you and I will be put to pasture soon!"
     Čech rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "We are ageing, yes, but you and I, we have many years still to play. You still fly about the pitch as you did when you were 25!"
     "Haha, and you stand still just as you did as you were 25."
     Čech laughed. "What you call 'standing' I call 'positioning.'"
     Rosický smirked. "Riiiiiight." He turned back to unlacing his boots.
     Čech pondered his teammate again before speaking. "Tomáš? What is it like to play for Arsène?"
     Rosický looked up, then eyed Čech. "It's—he's great. He knows the game, obviously, but he knows his players. He trusts us."
     Čech looked wistful. A bit sad, even. Rosický sensed this. "What?"
     The keeper looked at his captain. "I miss that. I have played for many coaches—how many is it?" He counted on his fingers. He needed all of them. "Ten. Ten coaches I have played for. I count Mourinho twice, though. None of them stay long. Two years, one year, part of a year. I liked some of them, yes, but it is hard to say how much they trusted me. As a player, sure. As a person? I don't know."
     "It is different with Arsène. Here there is trust. Here is faith. And respect."
     "But how can you say this when you do not play so much anymore?"
     Rosický paused. He fiddled with a shinguard. "I have been here nine years. I waited a long time to be successful, so I must try even if it's not going well for me, to fight. Wilshere and Ramsey and Theo are back from injuries. Santi and Coquelin became our defensive midfield. We signed Alexis and Mesut. So much competition!"
     Čech took this in. "Maybe it is not so good for me to come to Arsenal. Already I have to sit and watch a younger player—"
     "No. That is different. You were not treated right. For me, it is a matter of competition. Those players, they know what I have done for this club. They know that I can still play. The way you have been treated makes it seem like you are too old. You come to this club, Wojciech will respect you. He will be in awe. You will play very much. You will have also have a protégé. You come to Arsenal and you will mold Wojciech into the keeper we know he can be."
     "Will that be enough for your fans to like me? I am after all from Chelsea!"
     Rosický thought this through. "That will be tough. I do not know if there are players who left Chelsea for Arsenal in a long time. There are some things we can do, though."
     "Like what?"
     "Well, you have an accent in your name, yes?"
     "Of course."
     "This is good. This is a quality that Arsène seeks. But your name, it is not so difficult to pronounce?"
     "Not so much. It is pretty much just like 'check' but..."
     "No problem. We can tell the media that 'check' isn't quite. Maybe we will say there is a guttural fricative or something that one must use. It will not really matter though because they will say how they want to say it."
     "I see. But will these things make these Gooners accept me?"
     "Well, you can always do what I have done."
     "What is that?"
     "Well, you know of the North London Derby?"
     "Yes, of course."
     Here, Rosický grinned. "If you can score a goal, a really cracking goal, you will be accepted. Maybe even worshipped. I have scored many goals against Tottenham. To do that, it is better than sex!"
     "Um...I'm not sure if I can do this."
     Rosický paused. "Yes. That would be hard for you. We don't really like it so much when our keepers leave the box..."
     "FA KUSH!" Čech yelled.
     Rosický winced at the memory. "Yes, that was a bit of madness. It is better if you stay between the sticks. How else can we get Gooners to accept you?"
     "Well, " Čech gave Rosický a sidelong glance, "I do hate Mourinho."