Journeyman Weiss suits Slovakia coach Kozak

Slovak Vladimir Weiss is no stranger to rambunctious behaviour. He will hope for another scoring display against England.
Slovak Vladimir Weiss is no stranger to rambunctious behaviour. He will hope for another scoring display against England.PHOTO: REUTERS

SAINT-ETIENNE • The defining image of Euro 2016 so far has been the airborne chair, usually silhouetted against a backdrop of tear gas, occasionally augmented by flying bottles.

In that context, perhaps it is not surprising that Vladimir Weiss has felt at home.

The former Manchester City winger, who scored Slovakia's opener in their 2-1 win over Russia last week, ran into trouble on a trip back to Bratislava last year.

Late one night at a fast-food store called Kuskus, he and a group of friends became involved in a row with Zlokot, a popular band. In the course of it, a stool was thrown, striking the singer Paul Remias on the head. He needed stitches.

Police were called but it was never established who threw the stool. Weiss maintains his innocence.

"Personal antipathy against me or against footballers generally should not serve as a basis for creating artificial scandals that have nothing to do with football," he said.

The incident did little to temper Weiss' reputation for arrogance.

But the 26-year-old, who has had a troubled career, has offered enough to challenge the assertion that Slovakia are Marek Hamsik and 10 others.

He managed a single game for City before embarking on an itinerant existence that took him to Pescara and Olympiakos before ending up in Qatar, where he plays for Qatar Stars League outfit Al-Gharafa.

Because of his inability to settle, Weiss has played more games for the Slovakia national side (54) than for any club.

Slovakia's coach, Jan Kozak, said: "For me the most important thing is to have a well-prepared player who can get us results."

Kozak is aware that it will take a "huge effort" against England, not dissimilar to when they beat Russia, which probably means Legia Warsaw midfielder Ondrej Duda will be used as a centre-forward again.

The coach, who has a reputation as a workaholic with fine attention to detail, often uses the tactic against stronger sides, using the makeshift centre-forward to drag defenders out of position, creating space for Hamsik, Weiss and the other wide man, Robert Mak.

"We have it in our own hands," said Kozak. "But without another point, it will be hard to progress."

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2016, with the headline 'Journeyman Weiss suits Slovakia coach Kozak'. Print Edition | Subscribe