It was a phrase you were probably sick to death of hearing before Euro 2020 got under way on Friday night: “Sure, they’re a good side but do they have a decent centre-forward?
And, to be fair, it was a valid point.
Of the 24 sides contesting this year’s tournament, only six can really lay claim to possessing a genuinely, elite-level centre-forward (England, Belgium, France, Portugal, Italy and Poland).
But as Patrik Schick basked in the glory of one of the great European Championship goals, perhaps we should add a seventh striker to that list?
Schick to be West Ham’s next number nine?
The Bayer Leverkusen striker could already boast an enviable record in international football before today’s Group D clash.
But it was at Hampden Park where Schick really announced himself as a goalscorer capable of producing the sort of world-class, match-winning moment that’s usually the preserve of a Robert Lewandowski, Harry Kane or Romelu Lukaku.
It’s almost a crime his towering, Ronaldo-esque first-half header will be forgotten, overshadowed by an extraordinary 50-yard lob that left Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall floundering, tied up in his own net as Schick raced away to celebrate in front of the disbelieving contingent of Czech supporters.
However, it might not only be Scotland fans left rueing a moment of magic from the 25-year-old former Roma and Sampdoria striker.
“(David Moyes) asked me about Patrik Schick,” his agent Pavel Paska said in August 2020, confirming West Ham’s interest in a man who combined brilliantly with Vladimir Coufal at Hampden, the latter setting up the former for the opening goal of a 2-0 win.
“(Moyes) wanted to know what Patrik looked like at the moment.”
Given that West Ham are still in the market for a new number nine, Schick’s moment in the sun is unlikely to go unnoticed at the London Stadium.
Alex Kral has been linked relentlessly with a move to the English capital but will the Hammers now turn their attention to another of Coufal and Soucek’s international teammates?
It would certainly take few by surprise if Schick was wearing claret and blue next season.
West Ham have always provided a home for mercurial, maverick footballers, a la Paulo di Canio and Dimitri Payet. And Schick feels like a natural fit.
Here’s what some West Ham fans had to say on Twitter about Schick: