West Ham United add experienced defender Craig Dawson

PUBLISHED: 07:56 13 October 2020 | UPDATED: 07:56 13 October 2020

Watford's Craig Dawson (left) and Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.

Watford's Craig Dawson (left) and Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.

PA Wire/PA Images

West Ham United are pleased to announce the signing of versatile defender Craig Dawson on a season-long loan from Watford.

The 30-year-old adds Premier League experience and quality to the Hammers’ squad, adding depth to David Moyes’ options in an area of the squad the manager had targeted for strengthening.

With 184 Premier League appearances and 14 goals to his name, predominantly at centre-back and right-back, Dawson is looking forward to bringing his valuable knowledge to the Irons.

“I’m delighted to be here and really looking forward to being back in the Premier League and working with the manager and group of lads,” he said. “I’m really excited and looking ahead to the game at the weekend.

“I can’t wait to get started and share my experience. We’ve got a lot of experienced lads here anyway and to be joining this group of players is an exciting prospect, so I can’t wait.

“It’s a talented group and I can add competition to that back line, so hopefully I can slot straight in with the lads and help them improve their game as well.

“West Ham is obviously a massive club and London Stadium is a great home stadium and hopefully the fans are back soon cheering us on.”

Manager Moyes welcomed Dawson, who could make his transfer to London Stadium permanent at the end of the 2020/21 season, and says his professionalism and leadership qualities will be welcome additions to the squad.

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“I’m delighted to welcome Craig to the Club. He is a fantastic professional with proven quality and experience in the Premier League.

“It’s no secret that we have been trying to add more quality to the squad in defensive positions, not only for the longer-term but also to ensure we are well protected right now, and the opportunity bring in Craig on loan was an addition that will make the group stronger through this period.

“I know he will be a great addition to the dressing-room – he is a committed and determined character. We wish Craig all the best during his time here and I look forward to working with him for the rest of the season.”

Born in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, in May 1990, Dawson began his career at Northern Premier League side Radcliffe Borough as a 17-year-old, before joining his hometown club and turning professional a year later.

It did not take Dawson long to impress as, before turning 20, he led The Dale to promotion from League Two, scored eleven goals and was voted the division’s Player of the Year in his first season as a full-time player.

The following season, he scored eleven times again as Rochdale finished ninth in League One – their highest placing in 41 years.

Unsurprisingly, there was plenty of demand for the young defender and he joined Premier League West Bromwich Albion in August 2011, before being called-up by then-England U21 manager and current West Ham first-team coach Stuart Pearce later the same month.

A year later, Pearce handed Dawson his debut and he scored twice in a 6-0 win over Azerbaijan – two of six goals he scored in 15 appearances.

Pearce also named Dawson in his Team GB squad for the London 2012 Olympic Games, appearing in the group-stage win over Uruguay and scoring in the penalty shootout defeat by South Korea in the quarter-finals.

Dawson then established himself as a regular starter at West Brom, initially as a right-back and then as a centre-back, and he had made 225 appearances for the Baggies before departing for then-Premier League Watford in summer 2019. He played 29 times in the top tier last season.

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