Payet enjoying ‘fairy tale’ season

Birthday boy Dimitri Payet put his successful return to France duty down to being ‘in the best period of my career’ at West Ham United
Birthday boy Dimitri Payet put his successful return to international duty down to his ‘fairy tale’ first season with West Ham United.

The outstanding playmaker, who turned 29 on Tuesday, made his first France appearance in nine months in Friday’s 3-2 friendly win in the Netherlands, where he was involved in two goals.

Payet told the French Football Federation website that his fine performance were the result of how much he is enjoying his football at the Hammers.

Now, he is hoping that his consistently superb displays will translate into a place in Didier Deschamps’ final 23-man squad for Euro 2016, which will be played in his homeland this summer.

“It's true that I'm in the best period of my career,” said the No27. “I'm living out a fairy tale with my Club and if that could translate itself into selection [for Euro 2016] that would be marvellous. I'm going to work to ensure that my best years are still ahead of me.”

Aside from feeling comfortable in a Claret and Blue shirt, Payet also said he returned to France duty with a new, more relaxed approach to both his life and his football.

With eleven goals and ten assists to his name for his Club, the Reunion-born star readily admits he is in the form of his life.

On Good Friday, his new approach was rewarded with an eye-catching 90 minutes against the Dutch, and Payet will be looking to mark his birthday with another top performance against Russia at the Stade de France – as he has done for West Ham all season.

“I was already happy to return to [the French national training centre] Clairefontaine, after a long period of absence,” explained Payet, who has two goals in 16 caps for Les Bleus. “I've had a good week and trained well. And I don’t think it went too badly in terms of the [Netherlands] match.   

“It's one of my most successful [performances for France]. Where it's particularly satisfying is to have had the same variety in the game, the same effectiveness as with my Club. I began this meet with no pressure and it's been rather successful.”

France host Russia in Paris on Tuesday evening at 8pm BST, before taking on Romania, Albania and Switzerland on home turf at Euro 2016.