David Moyes has heaped praise on Craig Dawson’s hard-nosed approach after the defensive stalwart suffered a bloodied nose for the second game in a row.
The 31-year-old centre-back has endeared himself to the West Ham faithful since joining from Watford in last season’s summer transfer window, becoming a fan favourite thanks to his no-nonsense, uncompromising style of play.
Dawson is a throwback defender in every sense, crunching into tackles, tussling with centre-forwards and proving aerially dominant at both ends of the pitch. Of course, with such a physically robust approach, bodily blemishes are an expected by-product of the trade.
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On Thursday night against Lyon in the Europa League, Dawson produced a defensive masterclass and claimed West Ham’s man-of-the-match award following a string of exceptionally well-timed tackles and headers, with one particular sequence seeing him make three succesful challenges in a row, provoking a visceral roar from the terraces.
However, his tenacity came at a cost as the defender sustained a knock to the nose which ultimately required medical attention and enforced him to play with a swab up his left nostril for the rest of the game — and it was a similar story on Sunday in the Premier League.
West Ham followed up their quarter-final first leg 1-1 against Lyon with a 2-0 reversal at the hand of Brentford at the weekend, and Dawson was once again in the wars, suffering further damage to his nose, which saw him wear cotton buds up both nostrils to stem the blood for the rest of the contest.
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Following the defeat, Moyes was quick to wax lyrical about his courageous centre-back, heaping particular praise on his mental fortitude to ‘battle’ on.
“We thought he broke his nose on Thursday and in the first minute he caught on his nose,” Moyes said. “He battles on Daws, great credit to him.”
The Hammers take on Lyon in France for their Europa League quarter-final second leg on Thursday at 8pm, and Moyes will be hoping Dawson once again puts his body on the line as the Londoners hope to book their ticket to the semi-finals, where one of Barcelona or Frankfurt lie in wait.