5-pound hammer: Tomasz Suczek marches West Ham to the top
Although the manager calls him old-fashioned, the Czech midfielder who did not miss a minute this season is not only a fighter, but also a scorer, navigator and leader.
Meet an Arsenal fan who has overcome countless difficulties, perhaps on his way to being selected for the team this season and being sold to a top team in Europe.
Now he is also threatening Pep
Friday, February 26, 2021, 2:30 p.m.
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"I always wanted to play like Yaya Toure. I watched him all the time when I was young, and I really liked the way he played my role," says Tomasz Suczek.
Fate wished, and his second game in the Premier League, exactly a year ago, was held at the former Ivory Coast star's stadium.
West Ham hosted Manchester City, and the newly arrived Czech on loan from Slavia Prague finished the first 90 minutes in England with a statistic that left his manager with an open mouth.
Sochek covered 13.1 miles, and David Moyes admired the press conference: "It's amazing. No one at this club has done things like that."
For the relationship, however, it was a matter of routine.
He's used to running, running and running, then running some more.
He does not get tired.
For many years he did marathons in the park with his mother, a former handball player.
It is unmatched in terms of endurance, and few can compete with it in physical strength, but one must also move wisely - which is exactly what Sochek does.
"He has a computer in his head," said Indzyk Trepyszowski, the coach who built Slavia's lineup around him.
Along with a rare doubt when it comes to undeclared work, the Czech also navigates the game.
He knows how to send smart dedications after he wins balls.
And he also has a phenomenal sense for scoring goals, both on foot and in the head.
No wonder there is now a consensus in England - he deserves to be included in the team this season in the Premier League.
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A Star Is Born.
Sochek (Photo: GettyImages, Adam Davy)
Growing up on Rozicki and Fabregas
It is difficult to exaggerate the influence of Sozek on the fate of the hammers.
When he joined in late January 2020, West Ham were below the red line, and were seen as a natural candidate for relegation.
She is currently ranked fourth, and is starting to dream with the requisite caution even about a historic promotion to the Champions League.
During this period the Czech scored, from a central midfield retreat, 11 times - the best figure in the group.
He has become such a dominant factor that even his center-back partner Declan Rice - England car player and one of the most well-known youngsters in the kingdom - declares without hesitation: "Tomasz is our player of the season."
And rightly so.
At the current pace, Sochek is proving to be a kind of yaya for the team that is currently ranked first among all Londoners.
Arsenal are the fourth Londoners in the rankings, and in 11th place in the overall table, no less than 11 points behind the Hammers - and that may sadden a bit of Sochek, as he is a die-hard fan of the Gunners.
The Czech began following them thanks to Tomasz Rozicki, then fell in love with Cesc Fabregas who became his ultimate idol.
Therefore, when he faced Slavia against Chelsea two years ago in the Europa League semi-final, he exchanged shirts with Olivier Giroud - for whom the Frenchman was and remains an Arsenal legend.
Earlier, he did everything to oust Giro, with a goal and a pair of tackles at Stamford Bridge.
On paper, it was an impossible task, after the visitors fell behind 3-0 early in the rematch, after a 1-0 loss in the first game.
But Suczek never gave up, and it ended in a dramatic 4-3, with plenty of opportunities to score in the closing minutes the two more goals that were missing for the splash.
Declan Rice also praises (Photo: GettyImages)
Mushrooms with Grandpa on the way from training
This is his character, and thanks to him he made his way to a brilliant professional career, even though the odds were against him.
First, he was thrown from all the stairs in the children's groups near his hometown.
At the age of 10, Soček was happy to be accepted to the Slavia Academy, and his grandfather volunteered to drive him 120 miles in each direction for training.
When the weather allowed it, they would stop to pick mushrooms in the woods on the way home, but these were usually the few points of light.
Youth coaches did not always encourage him - he was perceived as a little too awkward, and even a little too slow.
No one in Slavia saw him as a talented midfielder, and even attempts were made to convert him to a brake, where his head game was supposed to be more helpful.
He wanted to be like Fabregas and Yaya Toure.
So in 2015, when they did not know what to do with him, the Slavs sent him on loan to the poor second-placed Victoria Zizkov.
Trapyszowski, who would later become the number one fan, was then Zizkov's coach, and when he saw the clumsy guy for the first time he decided emphatically: "We don't need him."
The management explained to him that he was coming for free, so there was no risk.
In the worst case, it can be seated in the bleachers.
Suchek did not sit in the stands.
He soon became a banker in the lineup, excelling most of all also in training held in the nearby park, in the absence of proper training facilities.
The beginning was not smooth.
Sochek in Slavia Prague (Photo: GettyImages, Gualter Fatia)
13 goals in the championship season
There are players who shy away from difficulties.
Sochek loves them, because that is how he has a special motivation.
He was aware of his limitations, and worked to improve in all aspects of the game.
Journalists who followed him at the beginning of his career testify that he lost many balls, and his tactical understanding of the game was not excellent to say the least.
He was also not a scorer at all - and ended his loan spell at Zizkov without a single ball in the net.
All that has changed gradually, and after a good season in Slavia in 2017/18 with Trapyszowski on the lines, he is already back by Atalanta and Fiorentina.
If the scouts from Bergamo kept an eye on you, a sign that you are worth quite a bit, and that is exactly what they thought in Prague.
An offer of 5 million euros was not enough, Sochek has remained in the same group one since he remembers himself, and it paid off for all involved.
2018/19 was a dream in all respects - a championship, 13 league goals, a European League semi-final, the captain's film, the title of player of the year in the Czech Republic, a permanent place in the national team ... No wonder his agent's mobile device exploded with calls and messages.
If only Arsenal had initiated the requested move then, he would have gone to London on foot.
She did not do so, and the city neighbor won his services six months later, having managed to score against Dortmund and Inter in the Champions League.
The loan deal promised a purchase for £ 15 million in the summer of 2020 alone, in case the Hammers survive in the league.
He also slowly began to buy his place in the Czech national team (Photo: GettyImages, VI Images)
The more games - the better
Two months after landing in England, the league was stopped because of the Corona, but it actually worked in his favor.
Sochak is used to training in the park and running marathons for himself.
He even took the forced break to improve his English, which he began to study in earnest in Prague, and then - when football returned to the pitches, he enjoyed the rush most of all.
While most players fall off their feet, the Czech energizer does not care.
He is able to play 90 minutes every day if needed.
And so the long-awaited improvement in West Ham's fitness took place in July, when Sochek also scored the first three goals in the Premier League.
Chelsea were, amusingly, the first victim here too, and since then it has been impossible to stop him.
The mission was successfully completed, and his card went to hammers when payment already seemed ridiculous in terms of cost-effectiveness.
"Tamoash's style is a bit old-fashioned," says Moyes - and for an old-fashioned manager himself it's a compliment.
Sochek is an authentic English-type warrior, who would fit in perfectly with the mud of the '70s and' 80s and wage fierce battles against Terry Butcher.
In the last round, against Tottenham, he even opened his head like a butcher, but smiled, kept playing as if nothing had happened, and even pushed a ball away from the line to secure a win.
No power in the world will make him lose a minute of play.
Even the red card he suffered during injuries against Fulham was declared unjustified and revoked by the association - and all Hammers fans breathed a sigh of relief.
Because there is no West Ham season without Sochek.
He completed 90 minutes in all 25 of its league games.
Moyes is in love.
Manager and Sochek (Photo: GettyImages, Justin Setterfield)
That Strait sees in him Vieira
Vladimir Schmeitzer, who was honored to face Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane, compares Sozek to Arsenal and Manchester United captains.
When it comes to valleying, Sochek is more efficient.
He is also much better than Mitzmar himself - the former Liverpool striker took 107 games to reach 10 Premier League goals.
Patrick Berger, another Liverpool legend, did so in 48 games, Rozicki in 45 games at Arsenal.
Sochek reached that milestone in just 33 appearances when he scored a side in a win over Crystal Palace a month ago.
A week later, he also scored his 11th goal in England, and the eighth of the season, in a 1-3 draw at Aston Villa.
He does this with punches, rebounds, kicks from distance.
Being in the right place at the right time is his specialty, and self-confidence in heaven.
Well, Sochek always believed in himself and dared to perform unconventional actions.
His first penalty in the Slavic uniform, for example, he scored in the Panenka style.
Yes, it also has a delicate touch when needed.
And he tries to work in training on that too.
This way he will become an even more complete player, and in the current momentum he can be talked about in terms of one of the most promising key ties in Europe - no less.
For a long time he was not a Czech field player at the highest world level.
Now, at last, it's happening.
An entire player.
Sochek (Photo: GettyImages, Oli Scarff)
Will stop City on his birthday?
"I grew up on Pavel Nedved and Tomasz Rozicki, and it's strange that they talk about me in those terms," says Sozek, who was and remains very modest.
The success did not cross his mind, and reports of interest from giants like Bayern Munich do not really interest him.
Ludek Makloshko, West Ham's legendary goalkeeper from the 1990s, says that Sochek described the hammers' outdated training facility as amazing.
"Tomasz will not ask to move. He is partly happy, and I would be very happy if he stays at West Ham for at least another two years, and becomes the greatest Czech in its history. I will willingly give up this crown for him," Mikloshko says.
The people of Slavia are also very proud of him, even if the longing is strong.
"Tomasz will still regret leaving us, because we will win the Europa League without him," Trapyszowski recently joked.
Yesterday he took a step in the right direction, with a fantastic 0: 2 victory in Leicester, after which the guys immediately called the former captain, who was watching the game wearing the red-and-white shirt.
"It's a birthday present," they told him, because on Saturday he is celebrating Sochek 26. And for the occasion, he is visiting Manchester City again, ready to sip another 13 miles.
And there is no team better suited to interrupt the Blues' formidable winning streak than West Ham, who have achieved seven victories in the last nine games.
Yaya Toure, who does not particularly forgive Pep Guardiola, is holding fingers to Sochek.
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