Patrick Schick’s 50-yard wonder strike against Scotland might have grabbed the eyeballs but for Czech Republic, the win was much more than just their talisman’s heroics. The rest of the team worked their socks off and amongst them was 25-year-old Jakub Jankto.
MATCH REPORT: Czech Republic forward Patrik Schick scored twice, including one from the halfway line, as the visitors made a winning start in Group D in Scotland…#EURO2020
— UEFA Nations League (@EURO2024) June 14, 2021
Jankto was instrumental in their opening win – working tirelessly while also looking sharp in attack. The young Czech winger might have passed under the radar on Monday but he may just be the key if his side is to progress out of the group stages.
WHO IS JAKUB JANKTO?
Jakub Jankto plied his trade for Slavia Praha in his youth playing career before making the move to Italian side Udinese in 2014 when he was 18 years old. He was immediately loaned to fellow Italian club Ascioli in Serie B – the Italian second division.
He was involved in 7 goals (2 goals and 5 assists) in the 2019-20 season and improved on these numbers this past season as he scored 6 goals and delivered 3 assists in the Italian top flight.
During his time with Udinese in Serie A, the then 21-year old was linked with the creme de la creme of Europe. Clubs such as Italian giants Juventus and English heavyweights Arsenal were reportedly interested in signing him in fall 2017.
Subsequently in the summer of 2018, Jankto went to Sampdoria on an initial loan deal that was eventually converted into a permanent move by the Genoa-based club owing to the 25-year old’s impressive performances on the pitch.
Jankto primarily operates as a left-sided forward either in a 4-3-3 formation or in a 4-2-3-1 formation where he plays as the left winger in the trident behind the striker.
The 25-year old can also play a more central role in the middle of the park for both club and country as well as playing as a right-sided midfielder.
This past season he scored 6 goals and delivered 3 assists for Sampdoria in Serie A. This is an impressive return in a defensive minded Sampdoria side which scored the second fewest goals in the top half of the table.
Apart from creative and goalscoring duties, he is good at making blocks and clearances whenever required to do so, thus giving him a definitive edge over fellow players.
But he has his pitfalls – his passing ability and efficiency when it comes to keeping possession of the ball need to be honed further to improve his overall performance on the pitch and consequently earn him a move to an A-list club this summer.
In addition, he also needs to work on his crossing ability – he delivered only 14 per cent crosses accurately (9 out of a total of 65 crosses) in the 2020-21 season for Sampdoria.
Czech Republic, at the time of writing this article, are on top of Group D ahead of the likes of England and Croatia due to their superior goal difference (+2 ) as compared to the Three Lions (+1).
And it will be no long shot if they cause an upset to either of the two above-mentioned teams in the remaining matches.
Jankto was selected by Jaroslav Silvahy for the opener with Scotland in Glasgow, although he didn’t score or assist in the match with the Scots. But expect him to come into his own and be in the thick of things in matches with Croatia and England.
A goal and/or assist for the 25-year old will see his stock soaring in the transfer market this summer as A-list clubs would queue up to land his signature on a long-term contract.
PREDICTION FOR EUROS
The 25-year old midfielder will be crucial if the Czechs hope of qualifying for the knockout stage for the first time in almost a decade. His attacking and defensive contribution will be key in the matches with both the Croats and Englishmen.
Expect the Sampdoria player to announce himself to the world in the remaining two matches for Czech Republic in Group D as they bid to qualify for the next round after earning a spectacular and well-deserved win in Glasgow
IDEAL LANDING SPOT
Jankto was courted by both Juventus and Arsenal in the past and favourable performances for Czech Republic in Euro 2020 might as well bolster his chances of earning a move to either of the two above-mentioned clubs this summer.
And it just doesn’t stop there, as other A-list clubs will also follow suit most probably to bring the former Slavia Praha player to pastures anew this summer.