Brace for West Ham crowns dream first year in EPL for Souček

Tomáš Souček, photo: ČTK/AP/Steve Paston

Footballer Tomáš Souček made lots of headlines on Tuesday when he scored twice for West Ham United in a victory over Crystal Palace. The game came almost exactly 12 months to the day after the 25-year-old’s debut in the Premier League – and crowned an astonishing first year in England for the ex-Slavia Prague man. I discussed his remarkable success with soccer journalist Karel Häring.

“He made a really good decision to move to West Ham.

“Not only to the club, but also at his age he was already experienced enough.

“He had already proved his qualities in the Champions League, so he was ready for this level.

“I think with his personal life being settled he also settled very quickly in England.

“All the things which are needed for immediate success clicked together in the case of Tomáš Souček.

“You know, many, many good players have struggled in the first months to adapt to the pace of the Premier League, but Tomáš Souček was clearly very well prepared from Slavia Prague.

“And with his attitude, with his commitment, he settled really, really well, and quickly.”

Souček has scored 10 goals in something like 33 league games for West Ham. Was he that prolific when he was playing here in the Czech league with Slavia?

Tomáš Souček  (left),  photo: ČTK/AP/Steve Paston

“You mention the numbers – they are amazing, if you consider he is a midfielder.

“He’s not a forward, he’s not an attacking player in terms of being in a high position.

“So the numbers are really impressive.

“But for supporters of Slavia Prague, let’s say, the numbers are as surprising as they could be for someone who didn’t watch him at Slavia.

“Because he was always very, very strong in the penalty area.

“I think he has some skills which are usually typical of forwards, of strikers.

“He can anticipate where the ball will go. He can find empty space.

“His finishing is really good, which we could see yesterday when he scored his second goal.

“It wasn’t his typical goal – he scored from a very tight angle.

“So he really has the skills of a very good striker.”

Obviously it’s very early to say, but where do you think Souček could stand among the Czechs who have played in the Premier League? So many names come to mind, like Patrik Berger, Tomáš Rosický, Jiří Jarošík and many others, of course.

“Yes. It’s too early now, but if he continues in this way – and for now there is no reason why we should think differently – he can really make a big mark in the Premier League in terms of all the Czech players.

“I’m not sure if he could be as successful as Petr Čech, but at the moment he is able to reach the level of Patrik Berger in his best days at Liverpool, or Tomáš Rosický.

“Because at this moment I expect – I don’t know if it will happen this summer or next summer – but it is very likely that he will not stay at West Ham for a long time.

“I expect that bigger clubs, from the Premier League and maybe not only from the Premier League, will be interested in signing him.”