West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has praised his France star Dimitri Payet for proving his doubters in his homeland wrong about his move to the Premier League.
Bilic said Payet’s recent performance for the national team, which included a stunning free-kick against Russia, showed that playing for West Ham in the English top flight had allowed the former Marseille midfielder to up his game.
“Maybe some of the French players or press who knew how good he was were thinking, ‘that is it, no chance with the national team or anything. Okay you are going to be living in London at a good club and make good money, and that is it’,” the Croatian manager said.
“But Payet has raised his game by playing for West Ham and that can change things.
“It is great for him and great for us.
“In one hand you’d love him to be with us, train and rest, but it is great.
“He was very confident before but he will become even more confident now. At the end of the day he didn’t go for [a] holiday – he was training with top-quality players and a top-quality coach.
“His situation regarding France has changed a lot. I read that before this couple of games many people were asking why he was not in – he had good games, he was man of the match against Holland and then came on against Russia and scored that wonderful free-kick.
“To get into a team full of quality in every position it is great for him in the first place, it is good for us, he is playing for us and it is a big boost for him before the last games of the season.”
Bilic added that Payet’s success could make his club a more attractive destination for other young players.
“Because of him and because of more players, they should think now that if they are going to West Ham it is a step up in their career if anything,” he said.
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