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David Moyes admits selfless Tomas Soucek is suffering for the sake of Declan Rice at West Ham
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David Moyes admits selfless Tomas Soucek is suffering for the sake of Declan Rice at West Ham

West Ham United boss David Moyes has admitted selfless Tomas Soucek is suffering this season for the sake of midfield teammate Declan Rice.

Soucek was named Hammer of the Year last season after a stunning campaign in which he was officially ranked as one of the top 10 players in the Premier League.

The much-loved Czech contributed 10 goals, a number of assists and set a new record for distance covered and aerial duels won in the top flight.

Soucek got off the mark for the season in the opening game – a 4-2 win at Newcastle.

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Hammers fans notice Soucek’s struggle to get in usual goalscoring positions

But many West Ham fans have noted that he is not quite getting in the same positions that made him such a threat last term – and the end of the season before that.

Hammers supporters will also have noticed that Soucek’s midfield partner Rice has much more licence to burst forward this season – as he showed when scoring that stunning solo goal away at Dinamo Zagreb.

Pundits have often said Rice needs to be more capable going forward if he wants to progress.

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Moyes admits selfless Soucek is sacrificing his game for the sake of Rice advancement

And now Moyes himself has admitted that Soucek is having to sacrifice his game to work in tandem with Rice and allow the England man more opportunities to bomb on and add goals to his game.

“He’s (Rice) not a Frank Lampard or someone who is expected to score goals,” Moyes said in his pre-match press conference as quoted by the likes of Football.London.

“Tomas Soucek is in a role to try and get us goals, and Tomas didn’t disappoint with the goals he scored last year.

“We can’t allow them both to make runs into the box, so we need to have a bit of understanding that one stays deeper than the other.

“But Declan has looked more likely to get further up the pitch and we think he’ll score a few goals this season.”

Photo by ALEX PANTLING POOL AFP via Getty Images

New Moyes tactics ensure West Ham do not become predictable

West Ham’s new tactics this season are understandable in many ways.

On one hand it will keep linked-away Rice happy if he can see he is being given the freedom and backing to improve his game.

And on the other hand Soucek is clearly now a marked man, particularly from set pieces, meaning Moyes has to mix things up to avoid West Ham becoming predictable.

It is a credit to Soucek – who himself has been linked with the likes of Bayern Munich – that he is all about the team and shows such discipline carrying out his new orders from Moyes.

There are certainly no toys being thrown out of the pram by the loveable Czech.

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