Ex-coach calls Dimitri Payet arrogant, compares him to two ex-Premier League stars

Rene Girard, Payet's former coach for the France Under-21s team, says the West Ham star is reminiscent of Eric Cantona and Paul Gascoigne.

Dimitri Payet's former France Under-21s coach Rene Girard has claimed that the West Ham United midfielder is the kind of player that English fans love, comparing the star to controversial former greats Eric Cantona and Paul Gascoigne, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

The 28-year-old has been one of the stars of the Premier League season so far in his debut campaign in England, contributing eight goals and seven assists and acting as a leading light in the Hammers' impressive season.

Payet, who was made the highest-paid player in Irons history when he was awarded an improved contract earlier this year, put in another stellar performance as the London club came from 2-0 down to beat Everton 3-2 at Goodison Park at the weekend.

Girard, who called the midfielder up to the French Under-21s squad in 2007, believes part of the reason that Payet has become such a hit in England is because he is exactly the type of player, both in terms of skill and attitude, that English fans love to laud.

He said, as quoted by the Daily Mail: "I think you English guys love this kind of player. He is a Cantona type, a Gascoigne type.

"It’s that bit of arrogance, the strut, the artistic sense and that innate ability to illuminate a match. He’s had that kind of impact on West Ham."

Girard is certainly right in that Payet's swagger on the field has only served to further endear him to West Ham supporters, and the Frenchman, who was last week voted London footballer of the year, is the same kind of mercurial talent as Cantona and Gascoigne.

Despite his success, one thing which continues to elude Payet is a return to the senior France squad, with the former Marseille man currently being overlooked by head coach Didier Deschamps.

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