When hundreds of die-hard Roma fans welcomed Patrik Schick at Rome’s airport, they were expecting more than they got. Schick came with the reputation of one of Serie A’s rising stars, Roma sporting director Monchi stating that “Patrik has one of the brightest futures of any player around” after the Czech internationals arrival was confirmed last year. A lot of excitement surrounded the 6’2” forward at Sampdoria where he scored eleven league goals and notched two assists. Not bad for a 21-year-old in his first season in one of Europe’s top five leagues, especially when he only completed ninety minutes on three occasions. With all of his attacking contributions coming from the bench fans up and down the country wondered what Schick could produce as a starting striker.
I suspect a number of people put big money on him moving on from Sampdoria at the end of what was a remarkable debut season and, low and behold, Juventus were the first to bite on Sampdoria’s bait; but his Turin move never materialised after a supposed heart problem was found during the medical. Wounded but not hurt, Schick moved on, and Roma pounced. A five year deal with the Giallorossi filled with bonuses and clauses was soon signed with all parties more than happy with the outcome.
A dream story isn’t a fairy tale if there isn’t a hurdle to jump over and the Czech forward missed a total of thirteen games through various muscular injuries at the start of his Roma career, an unused sub in a further ten due to recovery. Patrik Schick would be more than used to a stop-start rota regarding game time and is mature enough to deal with it but there comes a time when a player must start games to fulfil potential. On loan at FC Bohemians Prag 1905 in the 2015/16 season, Schick featured for 2105 minutes in total over two competitions and managed seven goals, the following season after his move to Sampdoria he managed thirteen goals in total with 1653 minutes under his belt. This season at Roma, with his big move in tow, he featured for just 1281 minutes over three competitions scoring just two goals.
Usually, young players build up their playing time as the season’s progress, but with Schick so far it has been the opposite which can only act to disrupt the progress of the now 22-year-old. At previous clubs Schick was utilised as a centre-forward or second striker, holding the ball up with his physicality but being able to move the ball on and drive the team forward with his undoubted technique and skill. For Roma however, he was utilised more as a right winger, featuring there more times than in a central position, with Edin Dzeko understandably leading the line. Although effective on the right, Patrik Schick will want more opportunities to perhaps play just behind Dzeko next season with Roma possessing more than enough wingers in their squad to plug the gaps. Schick’s main hope for next season, after heart defects, injury problems and scoring woes will be to progress under Eusebio Di Francesco’s calming guidance and to prove just why Roma signed him in the first place.