The valuable lesson England can learn from Michal Sadilek's freak pre-Euro 2024 injury

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The Three Lions get their Euro 2024 campaign underway on Sunday evening

The craving has started to kick in. Last night it got so acute that I watched Soccer Aid in a state of earnest concentration. After Steven Bartlett’s brace I don’t think we can rule out the possibility that Huel might actually contain PEDs. Nearly put a tenner on Jermain Defoe to score at evens then didn’t. I should never have doubted him. Not with Tony Bellew in net.

It is now just a matter of days before Euro 2024 begins. We are very much entering the overwrought, palpitating disquiet before the storm. Every couple of years, we, as a football-inclined collective, are sucked into this fated dance of anticipation and frothing misplaced belief, of big screens and beer gardens and those little flags that clip onto car door frames and pedantic TV guide worship and lucky replica shirts and heated disputes over central midfield partnerships and group stage upsets and unfavourable draws and grim penalty shootouts and, then, eventual, inevitable heartbreak. And I love it. I am excitement incarnate, a goosebump upon a goosebump.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In fact, at this present moment in time, I cannot think of anything quite as deflating as suddenly being deprived of this European Championship for which I incessantly yearn. With that in mind, I urge you to spare a thought for Michal Sadilek.

The Czech midfielder was widely expected to play a prominent role for his nation in Germany, but has now been ruled out with the kind of injury that is usually the preserve of clumsy schoolchildren and clown college graduates. In a statement on Sunday, a spokesperson from the Czech camp said simply: ‘Sadilek unfortunately fell while riding his bike and suffered a laceration in the leg.’ Presumably his soul was also lacerated in the process.

Aside from the single minute that he played against the Netherlands at Euro 2020, Sadilek the Saddleless has not featured for his country at a major international tournament. This summer was to be his moment, and it has now been cruelly snatched away in the most absurd of circumstances. Injuries, of course, are part and parcel of professional sport, but there is an emotional world of difference, you suspect, between pinging a hamstring in a preparatory training session and ruling yourself out with a blow that could have been prevented with a pair of stabilisers.

Which brings us to England. Mr. Southgate, I beg of you, with your creaking defence and your sole elite striker, take heed of Sadilek’s misfortune. Leave the inflatable unicorns at home, get the lads fitted for safety helmets, and tailor the Three Lions’ official suits from a cotton wool/bubble wrap hybrid. There can be no bike rides for Jude, no friendly ping pong tournaments for Jordan, no running by the pool for little Phil. Avoid glass condiment bottles that can be dropped on toes and folding ironing boards that can sever fingertips. Employ a buddy system whenever alighting from the team coach so that we don’t accidentally misplace Bukayo Saka, and limit binges of FIFA, or whatever EA are calling it these days, to a three-game maximum so as to fend off the risk of migraine and RSI.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If England are to have any hope of producing a minor miracle in Germany, they will need to be in peak physical condition, and danger lurks monotonously at every turn. Observe Sadilek’s mischance and learn gravely from it; Czech yourself before you wreck yourself. Football will never make it home in an ambulance.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.