Czech international goalkeeper Petr Cech happy with start at Chelsea

Petr Cech, photo: CTK

The Czech football team became national heroes here in the Czech Republic during the European Championships, where they were knocked out by Greece in the semi-finals. One of the stars of the team is goalkeeper Petr Cech, who - at just 22 years of age - has won a regular place at one of Europe's biggest clubs, Chelsea. What's more, he has conceded only one goal in his first four games.

Petr Cech,  photo: CTK
Petr Cech is currently with the Czech squad preparing for a World Cup qualifier against Holland next week. I asked him whether he ever dreamt he'd have such a great start in the English Premiership.

"No, I didn't imagine this. Of course I wanted to do my best, but I think it was a great start for me personally. If you don't concede one goal in three games it's always amazing."

Chelsea of course have a very strong squad and you must know if you have one or two bad games you might be out of the team for a long time - does that put you under any extra pressure?

"Yeah, of course we have extra pressure, because everyone expects we will win the Champions League, we will win the Premiership, we will win everything. So it's a lot of pressure, but I think we have a great squad so we can accept this pressure."

How are you and your wife settling into life in London?

"At this moment it's difficult because we haven't moved yet. I was living in a hotel. Now after this match against Holland we're going to move, so I'm a little bit impatient."

What about the London accents, the cockney accents, do you understand them?

"Yeah, sometimes it's difficult, but I think the most difficult is the Irish English of Damien Duff."

About Euro 2004, do you still have bad dreams about that goal Greece scored that put you out of Euro 2004?

"No, it's been forgotten. Now I think we have to look to the future. Unfortunately for us they scored this goal but one day after it was finished for me and front of me I had a big challenge - Chelsea - so for me it was maybe easier."

The Czech team has had two very good years - do you think you can continue on that great run into the World Cup qualifiers?

"I hope so, because we are still together, we didn't change our squad, so I think we can continue like this during the qualifications, but I think this qualification is going to be more difficult than the last one."

You're just 22 years old and the game against the Netherlands next Wednesday will be your 25th I believe - do you ever think about perhaps making a record number of international caps for the Czech Republic?

"I don't know. Karel Poborsky [who holds the Czech record with 100 games] has been playing for a long time, it was maybe 15 years. It's difficult to say now if I will continue for 15 years playing football, so we will see."