Julian Dicks lauds West Ham star's set-piece ability

The Hammers coach says Dimitri Payet is a true free kick specialist because he practices set pieces every day in training.

West Ham United first-team coach Julian Dicks has piled praise on the free-kick ability of Dimitri Payet and told the club's official website that the Frenchman is so good from a dead ball situation because he practices them every day.

Payet scored a stunning free-kick against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the FA Cup quarter-final at the weekend, but was denied the honour of sending the Hammers to Wembley by a late Anthony Martial equaliser.

Dicks, who was well-renowned as a set-piece expert himself during two successful spells at Upton Park, cheekily suggested he had scored a better effort that Payet's but lauded the midfielder's ability and effort.

The 47-year-old told the club website: "My free-kicks were different to Dimitri's. My ones were about power and I scored a good one against Nottingham Forest which was better than Dimitri's on Sunday!

"It is just about technique and timing. But Dimitri practices every day. Every time we seem to get a free-kick he seems to put it in the back of the net. It is incredible how many goals he has scored from free-kicks and they are all in the top corner as well!

"It was a fantastic free-kick that he scored against Manchester United [but] for all the ability that Dimitri has got, he works hard for the team as well which for me makes him stand out even more."

Payet has also scored fine free-kicks against Bournemouth and Blackburn Rovers this season, and his dead ball expertise is just one of the many attributes which lead him to be named London footballer of the year at the start of this month.

He is now being tipped by many to be chosen to win the Premier League player of the year award at the end of a fine debut season in England during which he has scored 11 times in 29 matches.

Thanks largely to Payet's contribution of goals and assists, West Ham are currently fifth in the Premier League table with nine games remaining, just two points off a spot in the top four.

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