Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher has lauded West Ham United’s Czech mates Tomáš Souček and Vladimír Coufal in his Monday Night Football awards.
Carragher, who won 38 caps and travelled to two FIFA World Cup finals and UEFA Euro 2004 and was part of the Liverpool team which beat the Hammers and scored an own-goal in the thrilling 2006 FA Cup final, selected Souček as his Signing of the Season and Coufal as right-back in his Team of the Season.
The performances of the two long-time teammates and close friends have played a huge role in West Ham’s resurgent 2020/21 season, which has them fifth in the table going into the final three games of an already memorable campaign.
Coufal has been a revelation since joining from Slavia Prague in October 2020, starting 31 Premier League matches, recording eight clean sheets and six assists, ranking first in tackles and third in both clearances and interceptions – impressing Carragher.
Souček is almost a typical David Moyes player and I think he’s had a huge impact with the goals he gets from midfield and that combination with Declan Rice
“I went for Coufal at right-back and I was obviously thinking of Manchester City’s back four as well and Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo and they’ve always been fighting between themselves and never quite been first-choice, although I think Walker is now and Cancelo has been at left-back, and I had to go for Luke Shaw at left-back as he’s been outstanding,” he explained.
“I love Coufal, I love him! He plays week-in, week-out, he’s maybe not the most eye-catching going forward, but I just think he’s been brilliant and sums up West Ham’s season.”
Coufal’s compatriot Souček also earned praise for a standout 2020/21 campaign after turning his loan into a permanent move from Slavia Prague last July.
The two-time reigning Czech Footballer of the Year has not missed a single minute of Premier League football this season, has scored nine goals and won more aerial battles than any other Premier League player, with 210.
The 26-year-old also ranks joint-first in shots on goal and second in tackles, clearances and interceptions made among all West Ham players, again impressing the former Liverpool captain.
“I just think the impact of West Ham [is why I’ve picked him],” he explained. “I must say he had a taste of the Premier League on loan last season and he signed officially in the summer, but he’s almost a typical David Moyes player and I think he’s had a huge impact with the goals he gets from midfield and that combination with Declan Rice.
“I think the season West Ham are having and the turnaround has been huge. A team who was fighting relegation is now going for the Champions League and I think he, for me, has possibly been the most important player around that really and what he has brought in both boxes and that’s been a huge part in the success at West Ham.”