We're stronger without Declan Rice, says former team mate

  • by Staff Writer
  • Thursday, 21st September 2023

Vladimir Coufal has suggested that West Ham are a stronger team now, having sold former skipper Declan Rice to Arsenal.

Speaking in conversation with the Evening Standard, the Czech international insisted the trio of midfield replacements introduced to West Ham following the £105million sale of Rice - James Ward-Prowse, Mo Kudus and Edson Alvarez - had imporved the team as a whole.

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"I love our new signings," said Coufal. "We are not weaker without Dec, we're stronger.

"We knew what to expect from James Ward-Prowse, but I didn’t expect what he has done so far. He has two goals and three assists, it’s absolutely amazing. I didn’t see him score so much at Southampton. And [Mo] Kudus is a gifted player who has almost everything: power, strength, technique and skill. I don’t know his main position.

"[Previously] we had to split responsibilities to every player, because Dec took responsibility for everything. I love the way we play now."

And looking ahead to the prospect of another lengthy Eruopean campaign, Coufal admitted that his hopes of silverware had diappeared following the Europe League semi final defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt two season ago - only to be pleasantly surprised back in June.

"Two years ago, we went to the Europa League semi-final and were beaten by Frankfurt," he recalled, "and iIn that moment I thought it was my last chance to get to a European final.

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"But we got to one last year and we can get there this year. Why not?

"I still meet people in coffee shops who come up and thank me for what we did in Prague. I love the culture of football here, because people are obsessed. When you win a trophy for the fans, you are almost God to them."

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