Tomas Soucek 'not at the levels' for West Ham United this season - Scott Parker
Scott Parker feels that Tomas Soucek has not been “at the levels” needed for West Ham this season, as they were beaten 3-1 by Arsenal.
The Hammers returned to Premier League action against the league leaders on Boxing Day and were beaten despite taking the lead, with the Czech midfielder starting in midfield once again.
But speaking before the game on Amazon Prime (26 Dec, 19:24), Parker admitted that a slight change of system could be the reason for his poor performances and says there are a few players in claret and blue not performing to the required level.
“There definitely seems to be a slight change in roles between him and Declan Rice,” he said.
“Declan Rice seems to be the guy who is having more of an input going forward and I don’t know if that’s by demand but that’s certainly the case.
“Soucek is a 12,000km man. He’s got good energy in the sense that he can get around the pitch, he’s athletic, and I think you’re seeing that certainly in his defensive work. He breaks up play very well.
“If there’s one side probably that’s missing this year it’s goals. Last year certainly. I think a big part of West Ham as a team was set plays, in both boxes.
“This is a guy that David trusts. This is someone in set plays which is vitally important in our game, both phases, but as you can see in these moments he’s just not at the levels he was last year and that’s not just him.
“There’s probably a few at West Ham who are falling into that bracket a little bit. But in those crucial moments and those fine margins, he’s just missing those opportunities a bit.”
When Soucek first arrived at the London Stadium he was a goalscoring sensation from deep in midfield and was a huge threat in both boxes.
He was seemingly the new version of Marouane Fellaini for David Moyes, but with Rice’s importance to the team growing he has been the one to suffer most as he’s now seen as the more defensive player.
That takes away a big strength of his and of the team and is a huge reason for his struggles. The performances he is putting in aren’t good enough though, and while it’s not solely down to him they are costing the team this season.
Rice may want to play slightly further forward but the reality is that he is our best defensive midfielder and while we need results desperately he should be played there, and we can put Soucek in his more advanced role to get the best from both players.
Something must change, and Parker summed it up nicely with his comments.