Schizophrenic, that's how some of the the papers back in the Czech Republic are describing Tomas Kalas's season so far at Chelsea. They're not wrong.
Back at the mothership after two seasons on loan at Vitesse, Kalas certainly appeared to be in Mourinho's plans after an impressive preseason. A broken fibula derailed that for a few months, but after all this time, Kalas still only has just one (1) minute of actual match action to his name. A loan in January would've hardly been surprising; we all expected one and his agent and national coach intimated the same as well. Yet, Kalas stayed, with apparently Mourinho refusing all offers and claiming that he needs the young Czech international. While adding him to the Champions League squad reinforces that notion, the defender is still concerned. And as he told his hometown paper Olomoucky Dennik,* he just wants to play.
* my Czech is incredibly rusty and Google Translate seems to have a habit of confusing a "no" with a "yes" in Czech, so if any of our regular readers from that part of the world want to chime in with a proper translation of key parts, that would be awesome.
And while the 20-year-old appreciates the opportunity to train in world class facilities with such great players and coaches, and he speaks very highly of the positive attitude around the club especially in the wake of the Manchester City triumph, he casts doubt on his Chelsea future past the summer.
We will deal with again in the summer. Right now, we do not have too many defenders. I was told that if another defender doesn't come in, I won't be let go [on loan] because I will be needed. On the one hand I'm impressed, but then I'd rather play somewhere regularly. But for now I will give my all in training and do a lot of extra stuff, so that I am ready.
-Tomas Kalas, Olomoucky Denník via (edited) Google Translate
He goes on to say that he doesn't want to leave at all cost, but whatever is next must represent a happy medium between playing time and level of competition. Like Ryan Bertrand, he talks about keeping his career and personal development moving in the right direction.
He also talks about how Mourinho's style and methods - Kalas's most frequent personal contact is with Steve Holland rather than Jose - are not necessarily about making everyone happy, with De Bruyne's and Mata's names implied (to me) but unmentioned. "Not everyone suits his style and not everyone suits him," he says, though that's something that's probably true about most managers in football and sports in general.
Unfortunately for young Tomas, breaking into the first team is a tough ask at the moment, with Cahill, Terry, and David Luiz all playing well and staying injury free. Kalas can of course also play right back, but Ivanovic is entrenched as first choice there. And while Kalas can basically assume Ryan Bertrand's minutes for the rest of the season, those probably aren't amounting to anything significant as it stands right now either.
So, we're once again faced with the age-old dilemma. Young player needs minutes, but players ahead of him are getting it done, to say the least. Do we risk results just to so we can claim to "give youngsters a chance?"
(Not in my book.)