Will Petr Cech ruin his international career by staying with Chelsea?

Petr Cech

Petr Cech looked out-of-form when the Czech Republic defeated Iceland on Sunday evening.

Cech started his 112th international for the nation of his birth, as the Czech Republic secured their fourth win from four, moving three points clear of Iceland to the top of the qualification table.

A veteran of his country, the 32-year-old is unlikely to be displaced from the number one jersey by FC Basel goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik, with the 25-year-old stopper making just two appearances for the Czech’s since making his debut in 2012.

However, the Chelsea man showed his need for first-team football in the victory over Iceland, with their opponent's goal inside the opening 10 minutes Cech’s fault. Rushing out to claim a long throw, Cech misjudged the trajectory of the ball, and uncharacteristically let the ball fly past him, for central defender Ragnar Sigurdsson to tap into the open net.

Usually a reliable figure in front of goal, Cech’s mistake was not through lack of ability, but lack of playing time. He has just one Premier League appearance to his name this campaign - coming on as a first-half substitute for Thibaut Courtois in the victory over Arsenal - and two appearances in the League Cup and Champions League respectively. Whilst he has performed well when called upon, the opposition faced have hardly been the most challenging, and it has been rumoured that a number of clubs would be looking at taking him off Chelsea’s hands in the January transfer window - with London rivals Arsenal said to be keen on his services, along with PSG, Real Madrid and Besiktas.

Ever the professional, Cech has refuted such rumours, claiming that he is happy to stay at Stamford Bridge, and showing loyalty to the club he has served so well for the last 10 years. But it could be his international career that will be threatened if performances continue in the manner seen on Sunday.

A lack of match practice is not easy to overcome, especially when, as a goalkeeper, the pressure on you to perform is remarkably high in every game, and Cech should be assessing his options in the run up to the New Year, with the Czech Republic progressing well in qualifying for the 2016 European Championships. Whilst a reliable figure for much of his career, if the Czech’s were to progress to the Finals tournament, would head coach Pavel Vrba place his trust in a 34-year-old stopper with limited league experience in the two-years prior - it is hard to imagine he would.

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