You might think that winning the Under-17 World Cup, reaching the final of the Under-17 Euros with England, and breaking into the Stoke City first team all before the age of 20, would mark you out as the most well-known member of your family.

But that's not quite the case for Josef Bursik. The goalkeeper, David Gray's first signing since being appointed head coach, agreed a season-long loan with Hibernian earlier this summer after finding chances limited at Club Brugge following his move there in 2023, and is hopeful of rediscovering his love for football in the Scottish Premiership, but his namesake grandfather has an even more fascinating story to tell.

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"I actually overtook him on Wikipedia a while ago. My name comes up first," the shot-stopper says. And it does, to be fair. But the other result, Josef Buršík, has a far more interesting story to tell - so far, at least.

"My dad’s side of the family are all Czech, from Prague originally," Bursik says. “And my grandfather was a war hero. He was in the first tank to liberate Kyiv in the Second World War and got the highest Soviet honour at the time. I’ve got a book about him, all translated for me. I’ve read it a few times, just so I can get all the facts straight.

"I lost my dad a couple of years back but he was immensely proud of his dad and he used to tell me all about him. I always urged him to write everything down for me, so I could remember it and pass it down through the family. I've got numerous stories to pass on!

"It’s a big part of my heritage, and I go to Prague every summer. We’ve still got family out there. The story is mad. My auntie who lives down south in England actually has some of his uniforms hanging up. The Czech side of my family keeps everything."

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Unsurprisingly, Bursik is eligible to play for the Czech Republic - and there have been discussions with another famous son of the country about possibly switching allegiance.

“I am also eligible to play for the Czechs. So it’s something to think about for the future," he admits. 

"I’m always keeping an eye out for them. There was dialogue at youth level but I don’t think anyone could blame me for sticking with England at the time because we had such a great team."

He's not wrong. Have a look at some of his team-mates from those under-17 tournaments and some very recognisable names jump out at you: Phil Foden, Marc Guehi, Conor Gallagher, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Cole Palmer, Jadon Sancho, Emile Smith Rowe.

"The whole team are pretty much doing bits in the Premier League now, and a few of the lads are in the England senior team at the Euros as well. I was lucky to play with some great players right through from the 17s to 21s. We keep in touch. I speak a lot to them because we developed some good bonds – and I played with some of them at Stoke as well.

“It’s always a good thing to have on your CV; it was an honour to play for England at that level and really enjoyable."

Despite resisting the Czech overtures so far, Bursik hasn't closed the door on representing his grandad's birthplace at senior level.

"I’ve spoken to some of the representatives. I spoke to Petr Cech, who was my idol growing up. He phoned me one day, which was amazing," he explains. 

“You don’t want to focus on it because the first thing is to do well at your club, just to get the opportunity. But for sure, there's something there. It would be an honour to represent them, of course. I’m extremely proud of that side of my family. If I can do my family proud, even if it’s impossible to get anywhere near what my grandfather did, I will be able to hold my head high."

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But in the meantime, Bursik is fully focused on targeting the No.1 spot for Hibs going into the 2024/25 campaign. 

“I’m looking to enjoy my football, having not played for quite a while. That was quite tough for me. I like training – but we all do it to play games," he continues. 

“Hopefully I can play, and we can be successful as a team. That’s got to be the goal, hasn’t it? If I can help in any way, good; if I’m doing my job and going unnoticed, I’m also happy. I want to get back to where I was before I went to Belgium. 

"I’d been playing constantly from such a young age. I went on one of those non-league loans when I was 17 and 18, then jumped into League One with a few spells,  and went into the team at Stoke. All of that happened before I was 20, so I was thinking that was how my career would carry on. I know now that it would have been hard to maintain that pace, because you learn as you get older. But when you play so many games at a young age, you also learn a lot of things very early, so I feel in a much better place coming into this loan than I was back then, mentally and physically."

His spell in Belgium was marred by a serious injury and not helped by the fact that the manager who signed him, Scott Parker, was relieved of his duties less than two months later. On top of that he had Simon Mignolet ahead of him in the pecking order, and joined Hibs having made just a handful of appearances for Club Brugge's B team. Despite that, he is taking the positives.

“You're always involved in everything, apart from the game. But the gym stuff is all different; I had to adapt to that, which I found quite tough at the start. Moving out was okay because I had done it so often with all the loan spells in England. I can just pick up and go. My missus found it a bit tougher because she hasn’t done it before. But I can head out and live out of a bag for a while," he explains. 

“We settled in all right in Belgium. Football-wise, it was much more technical, and there's more emphasis on the goalkeeper playing with their feet, which is the way the game is going, of course. I was working with Simon Mignolet, who has had a top career. So although I didn’t play, I had to find ways to learn as much as I could from the experience, because I was never going to let it be a waste. There was a lot to learn in and around training, how to be the best pro you can be. There are so many things I took from it. And I feel in a better place for it, that’s for sure."

Following David Marshall as Hibs No.1 would appear to be a big ask, given his standing in the game and all he achieved on the domestic and international stage, and there could well be an intriguing battle for the gloves. But Bursik speaks like a man who fancies the challenge - and after all, his family knows a thing or two about fighting.