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Dimitri Payet set for first West Ham start of the season against Watford

Published 08/09/2016

Dimitri Payet is fit after a thigh injury and set to start against Watford
Dimitri Payet is fit after a thigh injury and set to start against Watford

Dimitri Payet is set to start his first match of the season when West Ham face Watford on Saturday.

The France midfielder was one of the stars of Euro 2016 but has made just one appearance from the substitutes' bench for the Hammers so far due to a thigh problem.

But Payet, who hit 12 goals last term, has proved his fitness with two substitute appearances for his national side and is poised to go straight back into the starting line-up against the Hornets.

"He hasn't played for us, apart from as a substitute against Chelsea, but he played 45 minutes for France against Italy, and then 35 minutes against Belarus," said Hammers manager Slaven Bilic.

"He's going to definitely be in the squad. I'm expecting him to be fit and ready and, if he is, he is going to start the game.

"We have missed him. You are going to miss that kind of player, it's the same for every club.

"France missed him, they were better when he came on. With his quality in open play we have been missing him."

Bilic can also welcome back Manuel Lanzini, Sofiane Feghouli and Havard Nordtveit from injuries.

"We needed the international break for a couple of reasons," added Bilic.

"We needed a couple of weeks to get players back fit and we had played five games in the space of two weeks.

"With the injuries it was tough. Now hopefully a few of them are back. It's not a new start for us but with the players who are back I am very optimistic."

Bilic could also hand a debut to his club record signing, Italy striker Simone Zaza, against the Hornets.

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