By West Ham correspondent Tony Hughes
Thierry Henry has praised Dimitri Payet for playing every match like it is the final one of his career.
The West Ham playmaker has lit up Euro 2016 for France with brilliant late goals in both of their opening Group A victories as the hosts qualified for the knockout stages with a game to spare.
The 29-year-old’s performances have been hailed in France and England, and have reportedly increased interest in him from Real Madrid, who had already been alerted by Payet’s outstanding season in the Premier League.
Henry is among the pundits who have been struck by how Payet has continued his taken his stunning domestic form to the highest level although the Arsenal legend surprisingly singled out his fellow Frenchman’s intensity rather than his technical skills.
“Payet has not surprised me,” Henry told the BBC Sports website. “What I like about him is that he plays like it is his last ever game.
“Obviously he is getting all the press and he deserves it but for me the most consistent French player so far is N’Golo Kante.”
Payet signed a £120,000-a-week, five-year contract earlier this year that instantly made him the best-paid player in West Ham’s history.
He is a late bloomer at international level but France manager Didier Deschamps showed his faith in the Hammers star by handing him the No10 role against Albania and demoting star duo Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba to the substitute’s bench.
In other West Ham news, the club are battling it out with Tottenham for a Barcelona attacker.