By support

22nd Aug, 2016 | 4:43pm

West Ham chief: Boost as key duo close to return from injury

By Dominic Toner

David Sullivan has revealed that senior players Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini are edging closer to full fitness.

Payet, 29, has not returned to match sharpness following his exertions at Euro 2016 with France, despite making a substitute appearance against Chelsea in the opening game of the season.

The midfielder has since been left out of the squad for the games against Astra Giurgiu and Bournemouth, and has been training to regain his fitness.

Lanzini, 23, injured his knee this summer preparing for the Rio Olympics with Argentina and is yet to feature for the East London club this season.

West Ham’s chairman Sullivan has announced that the two influential midfielders are close to returns.

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“The squad is certainly being tested at the moment but things are looking more positive as Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini look close to making a first-team return,” Sullivan told the club’s website.

Payet was a key figure for West Ham last season and was a nominee for the PFA Player of the Year.

He joined West Ham from Marseille last summer for around £12.5million and was integral to the Hammers’ sensational season, scoring 15 goals and providing 17 assists in all competitions.

Team-mate Lanzini is widely respected following an impressive debut campaign, after initially arriving on loan from Arabian club Al Jazira last summer.

The midfielder made his loan move permanent in April in a deal worth £10million and bagged seven goals and five assists last season during his stay.

Slaven Bilic has been tested during the early stages of the season with Aaron Cresswell, Andy Carroll and the club’s record signing Andre Ayew also joining the injury list.

Despite the injuries West Ham did pick up their first win of the season on Sunday as Michail Antonio scored a late winner to defeat Bournemouth 1-0 at their new London Stadium.

In other West Ham team news, Twitter reacted to the club’s first game in their new ground.