Dimitri Payet’s ability from the dead ball is as good as former Manchester United and Real Madrid winger David Beckham’s, according to West Ham manager Slaven Bilic.
Payet has scored five free-kicks for West Ham this season, and added another spectacular one for France to his personal tally during last month’s international break against Russia.
And Bilic said the Frenchman’s ability from set-pieces has given his side a fear factor.
“You can’t say that anyone was better than Beckham than taking free-kicks,” he said.
“But then again, you can say the same thing about Dimitri this season. In the space of 10 minutes we can name five or six great ones.
“The last one against Crystal Palace was unbelievable. Then for France. Old Trafford. Blackburn and Bournemouth. It all happened in a couple of months. The tempo he is putting them in is amazing.
“Of course teams will be worried about conceding free-kicks.”
West Ham take on Arsenal this weekend and Bilic’s opposite number Arsene Wenger said he passed on signing Payet earlier in his career due to his inconsistency.
But Bilic said Payet was past that and at 28 was at the right age to kick on with his career.
“It’s the best age for a footballer. Now the players are playing their best football when they are 32 because they have matured – not as a player, but as a man,” he added.
“They have their families, they are more wise and they can concentrate totally on football and dedicate that for football.
“They know they have just three, four or five years left.”