Sheffield Wednesday: Owls loanee hoping to make it third time lucky

Daniel Pudil
Daniel Pudil
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It is now or never for Daniel Pudil.

The Owls left-back, on a season long-loan deal from Watford, is desperate to be included in the Czech Republic squad for next summer’s European Championships.

Pudil boosted his chances of making the final cut by delivering two polished performances for his country in their friendlies against Serbia and Poland last month. He scooped the man of the match award in the Czech’s comprehensive victory over Serbia, setting up two of their four goals.

It was the first time Pudil had been on international duty in 12 months.

Given he turned 30 in September, Pudil is acutely aware time is running out to play at a major competition.

“It would mean a lot to be going to France next year as I missed the last tournament,” he told The Star. “I got injured a few weeks before the last Euros.

“I haven’t, in fact, played in the last two Euros so hopefully it will be third time lucky.

“This might be last chance to be there so it would mean a lot to me but now I have two children and my family so my focus is on them. I would be proud of myself if I made the squad but, if not, I will keep going.”

The draw for the Euro 2016 groups is scheduled to take place in Paris this Saturday. Czech Republic will be in pot three, meaning they could be paired with holders Spain, hosts France, England, Germany or Portugal.

England topped their group and will be in pot one while Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland reside in pot four.

The event will run from Friday June 10 and Sunday July 10.

With the expansion of the tournament to 24 teams, next summer’s finals will include a round of 16 following the group stages for the first time.

Pudil said: “Hopefully we will get a good draw. It is a little easier than in previous years as if we finish third in the group we will go through to the knockout stage.

“It is exciting times. I am looking forward to the Euros but I have to focus on playing for my club and then my country.

“It is still a couple of months away.”

Pudil made his 15th Wednesday appearance in their hard-fought draw with automatic promotion hopefuls Derby County last weekend.

A keen ice hockey fan, Pudil, who has previously represented Sparta Prague, FK Chmel Blsany and Slovan Liberec in his homeland, has stated he wants to earn a permanent move to the Championship outfit.

“Sheffield Wednesday is one of the biggest clubs in the UK and there are so many supporters here,” said father-of-two Pudil. “We all have one target and that is getting in the top six.

“I would like to stay in Sheffield. If the chairman wants me at the end of the season, I would be perfectly happy.”