Craig Dawson has been playing at the “peak” of his ability at West Ham this season, according to Alex McLeish.

The former Rangers manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, lauded the centre-back as a “tremendous” talent for the Irons.

As quoted by football.london, David Moyes confirmed Watford loanee Dawson is “close” to triggering a clause to make his West Ham move permanent.

The former West Brom star had to wait until December to make his first league appearance for the Irons but has since started 12 consecutive games.

He has scored three goals for Moyes’ men, including in the 2-0 win over Leeds United on Monday.

McLeish admitted trying to sign Dawson for Nottingham Forest and insisted he had proven his worth in east London this term.

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McLeish told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “Craig’s proved to be a wonderful professional. He’s had a tremendous career.

“I tried to get him a few years ago. I think it was at Forest, and Dawson was a player who was on a lot of people’s radars at the time.

“He’s evolved, at 30-years-old, a fabulous guy and at the peak of his career now. When you’re a defender, you’ve still got the legs.

“He’s obviously now got the knowledge and he’s got a combination of both.

“He’s at the peak of his fitness. Also, he’s at the peak of his knowledge of the art of defending and attacking at set-pieces. He’s come up with a right few goals as well.”

In other news, West Ham are preparing a major new contract offer, Football Insider can reveal.