Collins: Payet must be protected

West Ham defender James Collins believes the club need to do all they can to keep Dimitri Payet on the pitch for the rest of the season.

Payet made a shock transfer to the Hammers from Ligue 1 side Marseille for a reported £10.75m and has been a revelation for the east Londoners, scoring nine goals and registering six assists in the Premier League.

Slaven Bilic's side only won once in the absence of the 28-year old when he suffered an ankle ligament injury in November, which ruled him out for two months.

Payet's outstanding form upon his return to the pitch earned him a new a five-year deal, and team-mate Collins admits they need to protect the Frenchman in order to compete for a top-six finish and the FA Cup.

"He is on fire and has been tremendous. When he is in the mood to play, there are not many better in the league," the Welshman told Goal.

"It is unbelievable what he does. When he is on it, I haven't played with or against anyone better. He is a magic player and the West Ham fans are seeing the best of it.

"We have to wrap him up in cotton wool and get him out on the pitch as much as we can. He just doesn't bring what he does on the pitch, he is a great lad to have around the place.

"The fans adore him for bringing that sort of football. It is a massive scalp to have him sign on for as long as he has."

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