Radek Cerny would probably be spending time with his daughters today, if two Queens Park Rangers team-mates had not suffered injuries or the club were allowed to sign an emergency goalkeeper.
The Czech competes for the broadest smile at QPR's training ground and it is an attitude that led to Neil Warnock persuading the club's previous owners to grant the 37-year-old a contract for this season. It takes a certain type to be content as second or third choice. But Cerny points to his background in Prague, when he experienced the change from communism to democracy, as one reason for his laidback approach.
"The first thing we could do was travel where we want," he said. "For others it's difficult to understand, but it felt like freedom. Before, the government said we had to do this or that."
That was when he was 15. Starting his career at Slavia Prague, he moved to Tottenham at 31. "When I was at Tottenham, players said I should see the manager because the goalkeeper was not in good form," he said. "But I have never done that. I came from a different place. In communism you cannot do that. My thinking is, if I can do my work properly they have to pick this up. If not, someone else should. It's my idea how it works in life and football, everywhere.
"Maybe the reason why I'm here still is that I'm nice. No manager wants a player who gives them lots of problems. If I was a manager I wouldn't want a player like that."
Cerny eventually got his chance at Spurs, playing in a 2008 Carling Cup semi-final victory against Arsenal, but he was replaced for the final as Paul Robinson's confidence returned.
After moving to Loftus Road, he helped earn promotion last season but he was behind Paddy Kenny and Brian Murphy until they suffered a side strain and a calf injury respectively. Three games later, Warnock wants to keep Cerny in his team for today's lunchtime match with Manchester United, despite Kenny training on Friday.
He will eventually give way to Kenny, but Cerny is determined to prove he is worth another year.
"One option was to go back to Czech Republic. If I feel fit and there are no injuries, I definitely want to try to stay here. The motivation is how long I can play now. I've never been like, 'I don't want to train'."
His daughters, Adelea, 10, and Katerina, five, are a consideration, as they are settled in their English school. And he is happy to continue as back-up.
"I really enjoy playing but know it is shorter and shorter every year for a player of my age," Cerny said. "Of course it's not easy just having training sessions but only one goalkeeper can be in goal."
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