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Marco Giampaolo’s Sampdoria currently employs several promising youngsters, none of which has turned heads and impressed more than the lanky Czech forward, Patrik Schick.

Sampdoria – currently sitting mid-table in Serie A – are an unlikely qualifier for Europe this season, yet that isn’t to say the year hasn’t been a success. As one of Italy’s younger sides, the Blucerchiati boasts several mouth-watering young players – up and down the pitch – though none poses as a better building block for the future than 21-year old striker, Patrick Schick. Allow us to introduce him.

Meet Patrik Schick

Date of birth: 24 January 1996

Position: Striker

Nationality: Czech Republic

Club: Sampdoria

Height: 1,87 m

International caps: U-17 (11 app, 7 goals), U-18 (2 app), U-19 (15 app, 7 goals), U-21 (9 app, 10 goals), Senior (3 app, 1 goal)

On 16 July 2016, Sampdoria struck a deal with Sparta Prague for an estimated 4 million euros to bring Patrik Schick to the Marassi. As one of several promising youth additions to fly under the radar, the Czech international’s profile was quite unknown to the average football fan. After spending a season-long loan with Bohemians Prag 1905 in Czech football’s first division, the tall centre forward featured in 27 league matches, scoring seven goals. Oddly enough, Schick was not called up for the two matches against his parent club, suggesting that perhaps a condition was inserted as part of the loan. In any case, Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero elected to make Schick one of his many value buys for the summer. Since landing in Genoa, Schick has gotten off to a roaring start, making the transition over to Italian football with relative ease. A little known prospect at the time, Schick would soon change that by scoring a consolation goal – his first for the club – in a 4-1 October defeat to Juventus at J Stadium.

Strengths and Weaknesses

At the time of release, the emerging young star has taken the pitch for Sampdoria 25 times across all competitions, scoring nine goals and making a further two assists – all while playing a full 90 minutes just three times. Giampaolo’s preferred setup has been the 4-3-1-2, favoring strike-pair Fabio Quagliarella and Luis Muriel up front. As a result, Schick has only accumulated a total of 786′ in league play, making him Giampaolo’s spark-plug late in games. That being said, he does quite well in providing an instant impact by being clinical in the penalty area. When it comes to the young centre-forward, there is plenty to rave about. Standing in at 1,87 metres (6 ft, 2 in) and carrying a wiry frame, Schick immediately fits the billing as a target man; able to attack balls in the air and clean up in the box. However, to label him a poacher like Filippo Inzaghi does him a disservice, although the comparison is quite the compliment.

during the Serie A match between Atalanta BC and UC Sampdoria at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia on January 22, 2017 in Bergamo, Italy.

Primarily played as a seconda punta, Giampaolo grants Schick the utmost freedom to be expressive, showing off his array of scintillating qualities. The brunt of his damage is administered between defensive and midfield lines, yet Schick tends to drift out wide towards the right before cutting in on his preferred left to test the keeper. Given his size and stature, Schick finds many ways to resist defenders and beat his man without luxury of elite pace. A delicate first touch and elegance in weaving around defenders are two qualities flirting with that of a younger Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Marco van Basten.

Observe Schick over an entire match, and you will behold all that makes him one of the hottest commodities in Europe. Yet, there are a few holes in his game, particularly when playing back to goal. Because of his soft first touch, Schick’s hold up play should gradually improve, using his size to win possession and invite men to come forward in support. This will come as he fills out and adds more muscle, which will keep him in games longer with the more physical opponents. As with many youngsters, confidence is not quite there yet in utilizing his weaker right foot. In time, his irrepressible drive to improve suggests these areas of temporary weakness will in fact become strengths. Remember, it’s his first season in Italy. The future is quite bright.

Career Outlook

Patrik Schick’s debut season in the peninsula has been nothing short of stellar when you consider how quickly he has adapted to the style of Italian calcio.

Prior to the 2016-17 campaign, little was known about Schick around Europe, as we only got a glimpse of his ability at the international level. On 27 May 2016, Schick’s maiden appearance for Czech Republic’s senior side saw the gifted forward open his account in a 6-0 thrashing of Malta. Since then, he has appeared in two 2018 World Cup qualifiers, leading us to believe that he will become the starting number nine in 2017 sooner rather than later. As for club, Schick’s exploits at 21 are proof of his hunger to become one of the elite U-23 attackers in the next year or two. Sampdoria will ride their current tandem of Quagliarella and Muriel to the end of the current season, but the former is nearing the end of his career while the Colombian could attract many suitors come June. This means that Giampaolo is grooming Schick to lead his attack, having him take up a more important role for the 2017-18 season. That is, if the club manages to resist major offers from clubs like Inter, Dortmund, Juventus and Chelsea who are all reportedly tracking the Czech. In any case, his career promises so much.

Patrik Schick, one of football’s hidden gems, but not for long. Europe, take note.

You can follow my football ramblings and various workings on Twitter, @Matt_Santangelo.



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