West Ham United midfielder Tomáš Souček was not surprised to see Jarrod Bowen’s footballing quality come to the fore in the Irons’ win over Watford on Tuesday.
With eight goals and five assists in his last 13 appearances in all competitions, few players can claim to be in quite as rich vein of form as the Hammers’ No20.
A deflected match-winning strike added to Bowen’s run midway through the second half of a hard-fought 1-0 victory, with the forward later going on to see another effort turned onto the post.
And Souček, who himself impressed against the Hornets in midfield with a dominant match-high of nine aerial duels won, three tackles and two interceptions, told West Ham TV that Bowen’s explosive talents can be witnessed every day at Rush Green Training Ground.
“It was very difficult for all of us, but we are happy that we took all three points off the pitch,” Souček noted.
“We defended well all the game, but before half-time we couldn’t find space in their box. I could’ve scored only from the corner [taken by Bowen], but in the second half, it was much better.
“I am happy that Jarrod scored. He could’ve added a second one, but 1-0 was enough in the end.
“He’s in great form. We are happy that we have him because he’s a good guy and a good player.
“He shows us every day at Rush Green, the training ground, and also he transfers it to the games. He’s an important player.
“I hope that he will keep performing at the same level and hopefully another player will add some goals to his and the team’s.”
A combative, patient performance was required to break down a stubborn Watford side, well-drilled and organised under new manager Roy Hodgson.
... we operate as a team, not as individuals. It’s the reason why we are where we are
As it was, a first half of few chances opened up slightly – along with West Ham’s general play – in the second half, but the Hammers needed to remain alert defensively, with one fine stop from Łukasz Fabiański and several key interventions from Declan Rice helping them to do so.
“We had to stay patient because we couldn’t open space against them,” Souček confirmed.
“As I said, we defended very well. I think they had just one good chance and Łukasz made a great save. They waited for our mistake, but we were patient and we had the important goal.
“Declan is in great form. He showed in the last game that he can score important goals as well. He’s a great player and, like Jarrod now, he’s in great form. I hope everyone will be, in the long-term, healthy and ready for these games.
“Also, we are not like individuals. We have a whole squad, maybe 20 players, who are very important because we operate as a team, not as individuals. It’s the reason why we are where we are.
“These three points are great in the table and now we need to go for more.”
Victory on Tuesday night moved the Hammers up to fourth in the Premier League table with 14 games remaining but, with a trip to Leicester City and the King Power Stadium to follow on Tuesday, Souček refuses to dwell on that fact.
The Czech midfielder noted: “It’s great [to go fourth] but still there are a lot of games before the end [of the season], so we cannot watch the table and hope that we will stay there.
“We need to prepare for the next game against Leicester and it only matters what we need to do. If we win again, as we did today, we will be in the winning way.
“We can be there [in the top four], but we need not to look at the end, just at the next game.”
A touching night also saw numerous tributes paid to the memory of the beloved, brave young Hammer, Isla Caton.
West Ham United’s players wore pink armbands in the young supporter’s honour, with Isla’s photo displayed in the seventh minute, marking her age when she tragically passed away with neuroblastoma on 25 January.
Both sets of supporters and players also applauded prior to kick-off, and again in the seventh minute of the match, in her memory.
Souček noted: “We all heard it, and it was very sad, because since I came [to West Ham], I knew about Isla. I also was in contact with her and the news was very sad for everyone.
“It’s just nice that we as fans, as a team and as players, and everyone, could support her and pay tribute to her. It was sad at the start, but it was a great gesture for her, and I am happy that we all did it.”