By Michael Brown

3rd Jan, 2021 | 10:11am

'Excellent' - Exclusive: Pundit wowed by barely-seen West Ham player 'pinching himself'

Craig Dawson might not be the first name on the teamsheet at West Ham but he has proven himself an able deputy when required.

That is according to ex-Manchester City, Spurs and Leeds man Michael Brown, who spoke exclusively with Football Insider correspondent Russell Edge about Dawson’s role at the London Stadium.

The 30-year-old defender was signed by David Moyes on a season-long loan deal in October after being relegated with Watford in 2019-20 and has started the Hammers’ last two matches, against Southampton and Everton.

West Ham kept clean sheets in both, with Dawson impressing as he was swapped into the side in place of Fabian Balbuena.

Brown believes Dawson – whom West Ham have the option to sign permanently at the end of the season – will be both surprised and delighted with his recent run of games as well as the system in which he has been asked to play.

Asked what he made of Dawson’s first two appearances for the Hammers, Brown told Football Insider: “You always looked, when he was signed, what part could he play, will he play any?

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“But when he’s been required and when he’s stepped in, I think he’s been excellent.

“Listen, he’s not first choice, but what he has got is the experience so I think at that point that’s vital.

“He’s got that protection in front of them with the two midfielders immediately and he’ll be pinching himself to be playing and he’ll just want to play as much as he can.”

A former England Under-21 player, this is Dawson’s ninth Premier League campaign in all.

He spent seven seasons in the top-flight with West Bromwich Albion before a single term with Watford prior to his current stint at West Ham.

In other news, West Ham are laying the groundwork for blockbuster January signing.