• EXCLUSIVE by Alessandro Schiavone

Matthew Upson: Craig Dawson is a key part of West Ham's success story


Matthew Upson lavished praise on "brave" West Ham defender Craig Dawson, saying that he deserves all the credit he is getting.


Not only is Dawson a tricky customer for opposing strikers to get the better of due to his blend of tenacity, uncompromising defending and combative spirit at one end.


But he also possesses an innate ability to pop up at crucial moments in the opposition's box and score vital goals with his head.


The ex-Rochdale and Watford defender has netted four times in 48 appearances for David Moyes' high-flying Hammers this campaign, averaging one goal every four matches.


Upson wore the famous Claret and Blue shirt over a period of four years until 2011, during which he also made 14 England appearances, including playing the full 90 minutes in the 4-1 defeat against Germany at the World Cup 2010.


In an exclusive interview with Capital Football former Upton Park man Upson, who played in the same position as Dawson, spoke highly of the 32-year-old who has been a "key" part of West Ham's success this season.


He said: "I think he does what he does really well.


"I think he’s playing in a team and for a manager that appreciate what his talents are, which is defending.


"He is a brave centre-back, gets his head on things, he defends the box really well.


"And he’s done well for West Ham.


"The credit has been there for him and rightly so.


"I just think he’s a good defender.


"It’s his number one goal and he puts a lot of emphasis on that.


"He’s been really good on set-pieces as well, that's a key factor for West Ham, he’s scored quite a few goals, some important goals.


"And the set-plays West Ham have are a massive part of their success."