West Ham United's James Collins: I spotted Dimitri Payet's quality against Southend United

West Ham United Gate

West Ham United's Dimitri Payet has raised eyebrows with his early performances in the Premier League.

James Collins has told West Ham United's official website that he spotted Dimitri Payet's quality in a pre-season friendly against Southend United.

Payet scored twice in the fixture against League One opposition, which the Hammers won 3-2, and announced his class to the rest of his teammates.

The Frenchman belted in a free-kick and curled in an accurate finish, and it was a performance that confirmed to Collins just how important a player the former Marseille man was going to be for the team this season.

"Everyone is talking about Dimitri Payet and I have seen it from the first couple of days he came into the club," he said. "I first played with him at Southend and he was by far the best player on the pitch by a mile. Some of the stuff he was doing was tremendous.

"He has kicked on since then and is showing great form. He has settled in very quickly and has got involved in all the banter in the changing room and gets on with it. We are reaping the rewards of a great player. If he can keep playing like he is then he is going to be a massive player for West Ham."

Payet's profile has increased rapidly since arriving in England, with many observers quick to note the attacking midfielder's skill set.

His double against Newcastle United in the Hammers' most recent outing was particularly impressive, and it raised his total to three goals in his first five Premier League appearances.

Payet's ability on the ball and passing range have given West Ham a new dimension in the final third, and the team appear to be thriving with him pulling the strings.

Slaven Bilic's men have already picked up away wins against Liverpool and Arsenal this season, and they travel to Manchester City at the weekend full of confidence that they can tame Manuel Pellegrini's table-topping outfit. 

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