AUTHOR: Kieran Burke – @Kieran_b_sport
St.Patrick’s Athletic loanee goalkeeper Vitezslav Jaroš confirmed to the press today that he is set to stay at the Inchicore club for the remainder of the season with his parent club Liverpool happy for the nineteen-year-old to remain in Ireland beyond what was an initial half-season loan deal.
Having played every minute for the title-chasers so far this season in a campaign that has seen Jaros collect five clean sheets in thirteen matches the Czech goalkeeper admits he is enjoying life under Stephen O’Donnell at St.Patrick’s Athletic. Aside from such stats, it has been the general demeanor, presence, and confidence displayed by Jaroš that has impressed many given this is Jaroš’s first taste of senior men’s football, something he discussed with the press at a virtual Pats press conference earlier this afternoon.
“It’s more competitive (than academy football) because you play to win the league, obviously you do too in Premier League 2 but it’s more about people improving but over here it’s all about getting three points no matter what to try and go win the league so I think that’s the biggest difference”, said Jaroš.
Behind the likes of Alisson Becker, Adrian, and Irish talent Caoimhin Kelleher in the pecking order at Liverpool, the experience of playing three games in a week is certainly a new but ultra-valuable one for young Jaroš who may soon receive the long-overdue experience of playing in front of a demanding crowd at Richmond Park with the Irish government potentially set to announce details on pilot schemes which could see the return of a limited number of spectators to stadia around Ireland. Jaroš admits this is something he is looking forward to.
“That would be brilliant, I’d love to see lots of fans going back into stadiums, it would be a whole different experience”, remarked the former Slavia Prague man.
Currently conceding less than a goal a game, St.Pat’s hold the fourth-best defensive record in the league and take on a struggling Dundalk side on Friday who have conceded the most goals in the top-flight aside from relegation candidates Waterford FC and Longford Town. Jaroš admits that while he has personally been delighted with his performances to date in a St.Pat’s shirt he is always targeting more clean sheets.
“It’s nice getting five clean sheets but you always want to get a clean sheet every game so we’ve got to just keep it going and see what we can get”, commented Jaroš.
Having signed for St.Pat’s from the Liverpool Academy in the off-season Jaroš admits he knew little about the League of Ireland when signing but the close-knit nature of the league has made it easier to get up to speed and build up a bank of knowledge on the opposition he is facing down every week. Given Dundalk hit the headlines with group stages matches against the likes of Arsenal in the Europa League last season it was enquired at today’s press event if Jaroš had seen the Lilywhites in action in Europe last seen but the Pats number one admits he didn’t watch any of the game against Liverpool’s Premier League rivals. Not to worry, however, Jaroš did of course get to see the Louth outfit up close and personal when St.Pat’s and the Town drew 1-1 at Oriel Park earlier in the campaign and while he was impressed with the quality on display that day Jaroš admits the Saints have got to fancy their chances going into Friday’s latest encounter.
“We fancy ourselves in every game because we know we’ve got the quality to go and win it so yeah, I think we’ve got a chance”, replied an honest Jaroš.
When asked why he had opted to move to a lesser-known league as opposed to taking perhaps the path more commonly taken by British-based players of going down the football leagues, Jaroš admitted the lure of trying to qualify for European football gives the League of Ireland an edge of other leagues. With that in mind, Jaroš was cheekily asked if the opportunity to play in Europe next season, should St.Pat’s qualify, might entice him to extend his Saints stint even further. Responding with a cheeky smile Jaroš wasn’t giving much away by saying “we’ll see, we’ll see.”