Craig Dawson has come in for praise following his full return to action for West Ham in the Europa Conference League.

Dawson made his first start since the end of last season against Silkeborg, having made a brief appearance as late substitute in the win over FCSB a week ago.

The 32-year-old had been struggling with a persistent thigh injury throughout the summer and into the early weeks of the season, and he nearly saw himself leave the London Stadium in the recent transfer window but for a collapsed move to Wolves. 

However, David Moyes had confirmed to the media ahead of Thursday’s fixture that he was ‘getting nearer to fitness’ and Dawson did indeed star in Denmark.

He got himself on the scoresheet too, scoring the third goal in the first half as they completed a comeback, having gone a goal down before emerging as 3-2 victors. writer Jonty Colman awarded Dawson a 7/10 match rating for his performance and attached the following comment: ‘Centre-back Dawson made his first start of the season exactly two weeks after seeing a deadline day move to Wolverhampton Wanderers fall through.

‘Having missed the season up until last week with a thigh issue, he sat deeper in the middle of the defensive line in order to allow those next to him to push up and West Ham to have possession high up the pitch.

‘Looked solid at the back in his first competitive start in four months and gave the Hammers their third goal before the break when bundling in at Aaron Cresswell’s corner. Lots of love for him from the travelling fans, especially after his goal and led his defensive line well and with authority.’

The former Watford and West Brom defender made one clearance, one block and three tackles as well as winning 80% of his duels (SofaScore), despite West Ham failing for the sixth time in eight games to keep a clean sheet this term.

Dawson seemed to follow on from his accomplished performances on the continent last season having ranked third in the Irons’ squad for average match rating (7.17) and as the east Londoners aim to kickstart their domestic campaign he could have a telling influence, particularly after the international break when he will have had another two weeks of rehabilitation.