Declan Rice has claimed that midfielder Tomas Soucek is “brilliant to play with” after the duo both started in West Ham’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City on Saturday in the Premier league.
The Hammers earned a hard-fought draw at the London Stadium, where they were asked to defend for large parts of the second-half and showed their resilience against Pep Guardiola’s side.
Michail Antonio, who was substituted off injured at one stage, scored the opener in the first-half with a brilliant overhead kick inside the box.
Despite Man City star Phil Foden equalising early in the second period, David Moyes’ men managed to record a draw and that means they are now four unbeaten in the Premier League.
Rice praised his 25-year-old teammate Soucek after the game and the central midfield pairing got through a lot of industrious work against Man City.
“He’s brilliant to play with. He’s a player that we definitely needed with some legs to make the box and obviously get back as well,” Rice said, as quoted by the club’s official Twitter account.
“He’s added something to the team which is brilliant. He gives us an out all the time and when he popping up in the box we’ve not really had that over the years. It’s fantastic to play with him and of course I don’t have to do all the running with Tomas.”
Soucek certainly is one of the most influential players in the West Ham XI, as he provides tireless energy with his trademark runs up the pitch and he’s also defensively assured alongside Rice.
The Czech Republic international adds an aerial presence in both penalty boxes as well and Moyes now has a settled two-man combination in the centre of the park.
It will be intriguing to see the extent of Antonio’s injury, as further up the pitch he’s going to be a big miss if sidelined for a significant period of time.