West Ham boss hints Dimitri Payet is in the same league as David Beckham when it comes to taking free-kicks

Upton Park

The Frenchman has scored some wonderful efforts for club and country recently.

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has seemingly placed Dimitri Payet in the same category as David Beckham when it comes to taking free-kicks, Sky Sports reports.

The 29-year-old has been sensational from set-pieces all season but has confirmed his status as one of the best in the world currently with four strikes coming in the last couple of months for club and country.

His first in the recent run came in the 5-1 thrashing of Championship side Blackburn in the FA Cup, before he left Old Trafford stunned by repeating the feat in the next round of the competition against Manchester United.

Then he showed France coach Didier Deschamps why he was wrong to leave him out of the squad for so long as he scored a screamer in a friendly with Russia, before bagging his fourth in eight games when he scored a sublime effort against Crystal Palace upon the Hammers' return to Premier League action last weekend.

And that ability to find the back of the net on a regular basis has prompted Bilic to compare him with Beckham, who scored several important goals from dead-ball situations throughout his career.

"They are both great free-kick takers," he told Sky Sports. "You can't say that anyone was better than Beckham at taking free-kicks.

"But then again you can say the same thing about Dimitri this season. In no time we can name five or six great ones."

The skill to be almost as reliable from a free-kick as a team would expect to be from a penalty has been one of the many reasons why the Irons are flying so high in the table currently.

And the way that he has managed to continually find the back of the net despite opponents knowing how much of a threat he is - even against Palace when the ball went to the side that the goalkeeper was standing - could mean that even when teams feel they have worked out how to defend his free-kicks, he will still find a way to surprise them, much like Beckham often did. 

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