After a campaign largely spent on the bench in League Two, Liverpool goalkeeper Vitezslav Jaros is proving an early hit at the U21 Euros.
Jaros joined Stockport on a season-long deal last summer but, having initially held the No. 1 spot, injury and the form of Ben Hinchliffe halted his momentum.
The 21-year-old made his final appearance for the club in October, spending a lengthy period on the bench as he awaited his return to Liverpool.
He was expected to sit in reserve this summer, too, but injury to the Czech Republic’s first-choice goalkeeper Matej Kovar has led to an unlikely chance.
Now, Jaros has started both games in Group C so far, and on Sunday produced a display considered with potential as “goalkeeping performance of the tournament.”
Vít?zslav Jaroš and his fantastic save to stop Stiller's free kick in the 14th minute.
— Czech Football National Team (@ceskarepre_eng) June 25, 2023
That is according to The Athletic‘s Seb Stafford-Bloor, who noted how he “did everything well” in the 2-1 win over Germany that saw his side assume second place.
The journalist’s verdict was “good feet, good hands, good decisions,” with two standout moments in a save on the stretch to deny a free-kick and another to keep out a goalbound header.
“Perhaps his most important contribution was the strong claim he made deep into stoppage time, when he came way off his line to catch a final searching ball,” he added.
“A fine bookend to a really strong performance.”
Meanwhile, Czech outlet iSport handed Jaros a seven-out-of-10 rating, praising him as “when it was bad, he held on.”
Journalist Michal Kosturik added elsewhere that Jaros was “reliable against England, excellent against Germany,” pointing out that team-mates rushed to him to celebrate at full-time.
When it comes to Liverpool, Jaros remains in the dark over his future at this stage, though, turning 22 next month and having struggled for minutes at Stockport, a long-term stay is doubtful.
There is a chance, of course, particularly as he now qualifies as a homegrown player in the Premier League and his club are lacking in those.
But it may be more realistic to suggest his performances at the U21 Euros could instead boost his profile and attract suitors ahead of a summer move.