EURO 2020 SQUAD CONUNDRUMS -TOMAS SOUCEK A PEARL IN A RATHER ORDINARY CZECH REPUBLIC TEAM
The Premier League’s new sensation Tomas Soucek is proving to be a sensation both for club and country. The midfielder has transcended his club form to the International stage after scoring a hattrick in the World Cup qualifier against Estonia last month.
Jsem nesmírně hrdý na celý tým!! Hrajeme proti Belgii a tým je zklamaný z remízy. Správný přístup!! Odvaha, síla a odhodlání jsou na naší straně ✊️💪🏽🇨🇿 pic.twitter.com/KY78G5chHR
— Tomáš Souček (@tomassoucek28) March 28, 2021
The 27-year-old has become one of the standout players in the Premier League this season. Soucek’s exploits for the club has led to the transformation of West Ham that has taken them to 5th the Premier League.
Soucek has scored 9 goals this season, which is the highest for a midfielder excluding midfielders, more than even Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes.
NOT GOOD ENOUGH
When Soucek was 19 and at a crucial junction, contemplating whether to be a professional footballer, hardly anyone believed in him. After undergoing trials in the 2nd division of Czech football, both the clubs that be auditioned for Vlasim and Frydek-Mistek had no interest in signing him.
While still at Slavia Prague, Soucek went on loan to Viktoria Zizkov, which was largely because he was available for free. David Cermak, a journalist for Czech newspaper MF Dnes said “It wasn’t like he was overlooked, he just wasn’t good enough.
I am Stitched again! But they make it with Iron now. Coincidence? Maybe… 😉🔴⚪️⚒ #COYI
— Tomáš Souček (@tomassoucek28) February 22, 2021
Soucek was a huge admirer of Cesc Fabregas and Yaya Toure. At the Slavia academy, the coaches felt he wasn’t good enough and tried to convert Soucek into a centre back but he resisted changing his position as he wanted to follow in the steps of his heroes.
After spending much of his time on loan in the 2nd division Soucek returned to Slavia in 2015 after the club ran out of funds and had no budget to buy new players, so the club recalled all its loanees.
Head Coach Dusan Uhrin decided to give Soucek a chance and he was promoted to the first team. Soucek ended up scoring 7 goals in 29 league game as a defensive midfielder and impressed all. The following season Slavia ended up winning the league with Soucek scoring 13 goals in 34 games.
The most beautiful feeling in football is when you realize you have helped your team. But this time I want to dedicate the win and my two goals to my wife. It's really tough time for her as she can't see anyone from the family. Thank you for taking care of me and our daughter! ♥️ pic.twitter.com/ZupZZhzoK3
— Tomáš Souček (@tomassoucek28) January 26, 2021
Soucek eventually got selected for the national team and was a regular in the Champions League as Slavia played the likes of Barcelona, Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund. His strong performance in the Czech League attracted West Ham who eventually bought him for €21 million, making him the most expensive player in the history of the Czech League. He scored 10 goals in 33 games making him the fastest Czech to reach that tally in the Premier League.
STYLE OF PLAY
Soucek is a versatile player capable of playing anywhere across the midfield. He has been deployed as a defensive midfielder, an energetic box to box midfielder and has even slotted as a number 10 on plenty of occasions.
3 – Tomas Soucek netted a perfect hat-trick this evening in Czech Republic's 6-2 victory against Estonia and became the first Czech player to score 3+ goals in a World Cup qualifying match since Milan Baros netted four v San Marino in September 2009. Smiles. pic.twitter.com/4YFT7Tmxav
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 24, 2021
He is a hardworking midfielder and is often found relentlessly running during a game. In the 2019-20 season, he covered an average of 12.2 km per game which was the joint highest with Pascal Gross of Brighton.
EURO 2020 MISSION
Alongside Vladimir Coufal, Soucek will aim to lead a rather mediocre Czech side into the Euros. Drawn alongside England, Scotland and Croatia, the Czechs have their work cut out for them. However, despite the minnow tag, the Czechs will be happy to have Soucek in his rich vain of form at the heart of the Czech team.
The expectations from the Czech team is obviously not one of the gargantuan wishes that will bore the country down, it’s just going to be one of those tournaments where you may tend to notice the seldom magical displays of the unheralded teams. In the English game, there is a certain term to describe the outlandish player that becomes a cult figure and that is The Streets will never forget”
And it’s quite certain like Michu, Roque Santa Cruz, Benjani, Ben Arfa, Geovanni etc, the streets will never forget Tomas Soucek, who could well inspire this Czech Republic team to cause an upset or two.