Fulham have been rewarded with a playoff spot in the Championship, thanks to their commendable consistency in the second half of the league season and Leeds United’s sporadic run of form of late. Under the tutelage of Slavisa Jokanovic, the Cottagers have added strength to strength and managed to pile pressure for a top-six berth and the outcome is the evidence of their immense toil and perseverance. For a side which finished as low as the 20th in the second tier of English football last campaign, such a tremendous rise is riveting, to say the least.
Irrespective of whether they successfully make the most out of the penultimate ticket to the Premier League, the Whites would have to strengthen the squad and also ensure that they keep possession over some of the most productive players of the ongoing campaign. Next season, they would have to face the unparallel animosity which the top flight has on offer week in and week out or would have to battle for a promotion spot, and for either, group cohesiveness would thus hold paramount importance. Too much shuffling of the squad would only leave them in tatters.
Fulham have been quite decent as far as their defensive setup is concerned and one of the players who has injected a massive amount of resilience has been Tomas Kalas. A youth product of Sigma Olomouc, he was acquired by Chelsea in the summer of 2010 but hasn’t really been given the chance to thrive at the Stamford Bridge-based club. With odd loan deals including notable experiences with Middlesbrough, he started earning recognition and was eventually signed on loan by Fulham at the start of this season.
Kalas has been one of the permanent players in the tactical nous of Jokanovic, having collected 35 appearances under his belt. Predominantly a central defender, he is capable of playing as the right-back as well and his well-built frame and shrewd ability to take apt decisions makes him a strong customer at the back. The Czech Republican holds the ball well, barely misplaces his passes, has shown his immense maturity time and again and never refrains from making tackles or interceptions in the tight areas.
Recently, Kalas has himself underlined that he would love to extend his stay at the Craven Cottage and it doesn’t really come as a surprise. At this point of his career, any player would want to get as many minutes on the pitch as he possibly can: something which is seemingly unlikely for him under Antonio Conte’s regime. He has carved a fine partnership with Tim Ream at the heart of Fulham’s defence and Jokanovic shouldn’t delay in finalising a deal to keep this youngster under his command beyond this season.