Craig Dawson has enjoyed a sensational start to his West Ham United career – but you won’t hear him bragging about it.
For, not only is the centre-back good at scoring goals and keeping clean sheets, but he is also one of the most modest footballers you will ever meet.
In 12 Premier League appearances for the Club, Dawson has helped the Hammers win eight times, keeping six clean sheets and netting three goals, including the second after Jesse Lingard had opened the scoring in Monday’s 2-0 win over Leeds United at London Stadium.
That form has seen David Moyes’ men rise to fifth in the table and mount a serious challenge for European qualification, but the understated defender is not about to get carried away. He never does.
It’s important to make the run, but the most important thing is the ball into the box and Cressy puts it in great areas for anyone to attack
“It’s nice to chip in with a goal but more importantly we got a clean sheet,” he told West Ham TV. “It wasn’t a good performance but fair play to Leeds as they probably outplayed us tonight and we rode our luck at times, but we came away with a win and a clean sheet.”
After a nine-day break, West Ham started slowly and were nearly made to pay on two occasions, but VAR reviews ruled out a Tyler Roberts strike for offside against Helder Costa, and a Patrick Bamford goal after the ball went out before Raphinha could cut it back for Leeds’ leading scorer.
“It was needed,” he admitted. “We started the game slowly and could have been punished but thankfully we weren’t and fair play to the lads, we came back into the game to go in at half-time 2-0 up.
“It took some courage to come back, to be honest, because we weren’t sharp enough at the start and it was good to get the two goals before half-time. Fair play to Leeds because they outplayed us but, so to come away with a win is massively important.”
Dawson’s goalscoring prowess for West Ham – he added a fourth goal in the Emirates FA Cup third round win at Stockport County in January – is nothing new, as he now has 47 career goals to his name.
And his desire, timing of his runs and jumps and willingness to put his head in where it hurts mean his habit of popping up in the right place at the right time in the opposition penalty area is no coincidence. Again, though, the No15 was quick to pass on the credit, this time to corner taker Aaron Cresswell.
“Of course, it’s always nice to chip in with a goal, but fair play to Cress as he always puts it in great areas to attack it and even before I came into the side the boys were scoring from the back, so fair play to Cressy,” explained the 30-year-old, who also hit the post with a second header from a Cresswell corner before half-time.
“It’s important to make the run, but the most important thing is the ball into the box and Cressy puts it in great areas for anyone to attack.
“I should have had a second and only another night it goes in, but it was another great ball in from Cressy.”
Dawson was also happy to play his part at the other end, blocking two shots and making three clearances, including one miraculous late effort to clear a would-be Vladimír Coufal own-goal off the line!
“Of course it was lucky we got that one away!” he smiled, again refusing to take the credit for himself. “It was a great team effort from everyone, it was tough night and to come away with a clean sheet and an ugly win was very important at this stage.”