Payet just has to stay a Hammer
IRELAND and West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph has urged his club to do everything in their power to keep Dimitri Payet after the Frenchman helped knock the Republic out.
Payet, above, has been one of the stars here and extended his reputation against Ireland as France came from to behind to win 2-1 and reach the quarter-finals.
Now Randolph says it is vital West Ham keep him on board as they prepare for their first season at the club’s new Olympic Stadium home.
“Dimitri is different class and it’s massive for us to keep him,” he said.
“I really hope he stays. But maybe the manager and the owners aren’t as happy to see him doing so well in France as everyone else! You have seen it in the tournament and against us, he’s a matchwinner and he makes things happen. He’s a special player. That’s why he’s sought after around the world. He could cause anyone problems.”
Payet showed his emotional side when he cried after scoring the winner in France’s first game against Romania, and he was at it again in Lyon when he raced to embrace Randolph at the final whistle and to offer his condolences.
“That was a nice touch,” said Randolph. “I went to find him in the dressing room afterwards and we had a good 10-minute chat.
“He told me to keep my chin up and I wished him well for the rest of the tournament. I will certainly be cheering for France from now on.”
Randolph is looking forward to returning to West Ham after a fairy-tale year in which he has emerged from the shadows for both club and country.
He said: “The last year has been amazing for me. If you had asked me a year ago what was the best way it could go then I don’t even think I would have imagined the way it’s panned out.
“To end the season in the West Ham team, then playing here since the Germany game, just incredible. It’s a dream come true.
“I’m disappointed we are out, but I’m already looking forward to going back to West Ham. We have got Europa League football, a new stadium. There’s big things happening there.” LONG before the end, Roy Hodgson was resigned to his fate. Stood motionless in his technical area, no instructions left to give, a man as bereft as his team.
English football will today begin another of those flimsy inquests on ‘where the nation is heading’, though the coach is under no illusions. He will be out the door. Pushed if he does not, as he should, fall on his sword.
On second thoughts, the way England have performed he would probably miss.
What began as a journey full of hope ended in humiliation and the sort of sporting disaster that is as unpalatable today as it was unthinkable yesterday.
England were a shambles in the main and, by the final whistle, in disarray, haemorrhaging confidence as well as goals and mind-numbingly incompetent as they bowed out of Euro 2016 in sheer ignominy. This was as bad as it gets, a throwback all the way to the defeat to the USA in 1950, and while Hodgson will bear the brunt, none of his players can look at themselves today.
It is Iceland, an island with more volcanoes than professional players, who march to Paris and a quarter-final date with the hosts. So much for so nice in Nice.
That decade-long wait for a knockout success at a major tournament goes on, and the painful truth is that, barring the first four minutes, it seldom looked like ending.
England were a jittery, panicky shambles and then a frantic mess.