World News – GB – Soucek tells how he ran in the forest and kept fit on the Hackney Marshes


West Ham star Soucek opened up about his rise to Premier League football and how he has remained in shape throughout the lockdown in Sunday’s spiritual home fixtures of the league

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Tomas Soucek used to go for a run in the forest and then keep fit on the Hackney Marshes

It’s been a long trip to the Premier League, but Czech midfielder West Ham wasted no time in making a good impression on English football

Soucek, 25, has gained a reputation for his energy – he covered a remarkable 131km in a single game (more than any West Ham player for six years) at Manchester City last season – and this comes from his athletic family, dad Frantisek and, in particular, mom Iva

“My mom gave me her skills probably because she played handball when she was younger, but for 15 years she ran half marathons and marathons and sometimes when I was younger, I went with her to run in the forest, ”Soucek said

« I think she won the Prague Marathon in her age group My big inspiration was my family because my dad took me to my first football training because he was the coach, he played as a goalkeeper and my whole family was a sporting family

« My trip was very difficult because I loved football and I played football in a small town, around 10,000 people My childhood was very hard

« My mom and dad were working and they took me to Prague on different days so that I could become a footballer. They are my best support I could have »

Soucek, born in the small town of Havlíčkův Brod and started his career at Slavia Prague, was a revelation after joining West Ham on loan in January, played a major role in their maintenance and went on to sign way permanent this summer

But during the lockdown, Soucek struggled to sit still and made his way to the spiritual home of East London football and, with his wife Natalie and a ball and cones, trained at Hackney Marshes with their young daughter Tereza looking on

Soucek said: « I heard all about the tradition of playing Sunday League football there, even though there was nothing like it back then. I checked it was okay to train there and at that time only a few five-a-side teams were using it

« I took a ball and cones and did a normal workout But individually My wife would sometimes give me the ball and help me enjoy it I did some training and sometimes I liked it with my daughter and her There are about 50 locations there It was amazing for me « 

The start of the season has been turned upside down for West Ham, a poor start despite strong performances and yet wins against Wolves and Leicester have shown they are on the right track and the 3-0 return to Tottenham has proved their new spirit under David Moyes

How impressive has Soucek’s performance for West Ham been? Give your opinion here

From a struggling team last season, they now have higher ambitions for this season and Soucek has no doubts it won’t be another survival rush.

Soucek said: “I think the big change maybe happened after the lockdown We were very low in the table and when we beat Chelsea last season we did really well and we got off. improved and improved in the team

« In the pre-season we chatted together, saying we are a very strong team and we want to fight with everyone We showed our spirit, our conviction, for example against Leicester and Tottenham

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« It was so difficult at Tottenham with ten minutes remaining, losing by three goals, and we showed our spirit We want to improve and move up in the table So our ambition is to be much stronger than the last season We really believe in our team and I think we will be better in the future « 

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Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho compared Soucek to Marouane Fellaini after the 3-3 draw last Sunday Soucek laughed and called it a « very positive » comparison and still enjoys collecting shirts for his wall at his home in the Czech Republic

He grew up idolizing Pavel Nedved and Tomas Rosicky, got Harry Kane’s shirt when the Czech Republic beat England last year and won Heung-Min Son’s shirt last Sunday

Soucek added: « I now play against the best players and I want to change my jersey, but I also want to be better than them I am a Premier League player but I am still a big fan of the Premier League too I like to change my shirt and, over time, I have a small museum at my parents’ house « 

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West Ham United FC, Manchester City FC, Premier League, David Moyes

News from around the world – GB – Soucek tells how he ran in the forest – and kept fit in the swamps by Hackney


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