Aaron Cresswell makes bold claim about Dimitri Payet's ability

Payet Skill

The West Ham defender believes his teammate is the best free-kick-taker in the world after the Frenchman scored another set-piece on Saturday.

West Ham United defender Aaron Cresswell has told the club's official website that Dimitri Payet is the best free-kick specialist in world football at the moment after the Frenchman added another stunning strike to his scrapbook on Saturday.

Payet curled home a beautiful strike four minutes before half-time at Upton Park to put the Hammers 2-1 up against Crystal Palace, although the hosts were eventually held to a draw after Cheikhou Kouyate's controversial red card.

That goal followed an even better free-kick for France in their international friendly with Russia on Tuesday night, and those strikes, along with others against Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United in the FA Cup, have given the 29-year-old a reputation as one of the best set-piece experts in England.

However, Cresswell has gone further by claiming that the Irons' star man this season is currently the best player in the world when it comes to free-kicks.

The left-back told the club's official website: "I will put Dimi up there as the best free-kick taker in the world at the moment. I was standing right behind him and the ball looked destined for the top corner.

"Nobes [Mark Noble] came over to him and gave him a little heads-up, but he has put it in the top corner once again and hopefully he can keep doing that for us. I will gladly sit behind him and keep watching him strike balls like that.

"I am not sure he will want to watch his first free-kick back but he has now scored five or six in the top corner and as everyone saw in world football the other day, he scored another one for France which was a ridiculous one and he has now put one in the opposite corner. As a keeper you can only applaud someone like that and long may it continue if he can keep scoring goals like that."

Whether or not that claim is a justified one, there is no doubt that Payet has been one of the brightest stars in the Premier League this season in his debut campaign in England since joining from Marseille last summer.

The midfielder has scored nine goals and added eight assists in the league, and his form has been one of the major driving forces behind West Ham's push for a first-ever qualification for the Champions League.

Tipped by many to take home a national player of the year award at the end of the season, only a brave man would bet against Payet finding the top corner from a dead ball situation again in the remaining weeks of the campaign.

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