I’ve personally only spent a single solitary New Year’s Eve in the Czech Republic a decade back, but just that one winter in Kladno and Prague was enough to know the place is big on ice hockey.
So Patrik Schick spoke to Roma TV and somewhat gave away his roots when revealing his individual training program while on holiday: training with an ice hockey coach to build up his legs and avoid the repeat injuries of last season.
How are you?
Schick: “I’m well. The holidays were long so I had to get started before pre-season began. Now we can all get started.”
An important season lies ahead. Now you are training in pre-season with your teammates from the very beginning, and that can be an advantage...
Schick: “Yes, it’s different to last year. This time I can start the season with the team and that will be an advantage. I hope not to get injured like how it was last season.”
Despite the fact it was the holidays, you still trained specifically with an ice hockey coach. What advantages can that give you?
Schick: “I wanted to try something different, something new. From many years back I was always doing running to start the season, so I felt it was time for something different. The work with the ice hockey coach was tiring, it was hard but it was a good job for conditioning, and for reinforcing the legs. I also did a lot of cycling and exercises with a breathing machine.”
You’ve been compared to Bergkamp and Van Basten for the way you’ve played diverse roles. Is it really that hard to adapt to a new position?
Schick: “I think it’s always different for any player when they play a role they’ve never played before, but last year I played a lot of games as a wide player. I don’t think there will be any problems now.”
It’s been spoken about a lot, your performances on the right. Even at Sampdoria you played coming in from the right, and you’re always available to the coach to play wherever. OK, but with all that being said, is there somewhere you prefer to play?
Schick: “I always prefer to play through the middle. From when I was a little kid I play there and always prefer it there. First I want to play. And so it’s not important whether I play wide or through the middle.”
Did you watch the World Cup? Did you like any players?
Schick: “I saw some games. I liked Golovin from Russia.”
From your new teammates, who are you most fascinated to see and play alongside?
Schick: “Definitely Pastore, he’s a top quality player. I’ve seen so many of his games on TV, and I’m looking forward to it.”
What would you settle for today, both from a team perspective and a personal one?
Schick: “I’m a striker so my first target is to score plenty of goals. First though, I want to win something important with the team. We’re a stronger team that last year, we’ve bought quality players. We’re free to train together from the very start, and this can also be an added advantage. I hope we win something important, like this this season will be even more beautiful than the last.”
Do you like being in a team with so many young players?
Schick: “It’s true, we have many young players and it’s also true that our game can be faster. We have to see on the pitch, we’ve yet to do a training session all together with the ball.”
Inter have reinforced. Juventus have reinforced. How do you think other teams have done on the mercato? How do you see the league this year?
Schick: “It will be difficult just like last year. I don’t watch what the other teams are doing. I only know that Radja Nainggolan has left and I read something about Ronaldo going to Juve. That’s the only thing I read. I haven’t paid attention to anything else, we’ll see.”
Where to you have to improve? Some people say with your right foot. Some people say with your aggression...
Schick: “I can improve everything. I don’t know, maybe on my play with my right foot. I have to improve everything.”
No, everything? Everything! No! Everything?
Schick: “I have to improve everything!”
A message to the fans?
Schick: “Ciao to the Giallorossi fans, I can’t wait to start and play in front of you. So a big hello and a hug.”