West Ham’s Jack the lad is looking for starting spot

PUBLISHED: 08:39 05 March 2013 | UPDATED: 09:30 05 March 2013

Stoke City's Asmir Begovic saves from West Ham United's Jack Collison during the Barclays Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke.

Stoke City's Asmir Begovic saves from West Ham United's Jack Collison during the Barclays Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Hammers hero Jack Collison may still have trouble with his knee, but his display helped West Ham to victory over Stoke City on Saturday

It is a sad truth that West Ham midfielder Jack Collison will never be 100 per cent fit.

Fitter than most of us of course, but such was the extent of the injury that has ruled him out for so long, it seems that the Wales international will be forever managing his knee and the pain that comes with it.

It was one of the good days for Collison on Saturday at Stoke. Thrown into the mix after a dazed Matt Taylor was forced off after 10 minutes, he put in a impressive display, crowned by keeping a cool head to fire in the winner on the stroke of half time.

Manager Sam Allardyce was full of praise for the player, who is still only 24.

“It’s an unfortunate injury that he has to live with and he manages it extremely well as a young professional,” said the boss.

“It is a great shame that he has to be burdened with that and ke knows that the knee is never going to be 100 per cent, so the management of that knee is great credit to him and the medical staff.”

There certainly seemed to be no sign of it at the Britannia Stadium as he latched on to fellow sub Ricardo Vaz Te’s pass to score the only goal of the game, while he almost returned the favour for the Portuguese marksman in the second half.

For Collison though, he is just glad to get a chance.

“It was nice to get on the pitch,” he said. “Any minutes I get at the moment I’m just enjoying and trying to do my best to stake a claim in the starting XI.

“Hopefully today helped my cause a little bit and put me in the manager’s thoughts for the upcoming games between now and the end of the season.”

Collison and Vaz Te made a huge difference when they came on, but the midfielder was quick to point out the contributions of the defence too.

“The boys at the back were magnificent,” he said. “The goalkeeper dealt with everything very well and that gives confidence to the players in front of him to dig in and work hard, because we knew if we got a chance, we’d take it.”

They certainly did and Collison was one of the stars of the show, but it will be back to that knee management again for the next couple of weeks as his manager explained.

“He does a lot of his own training and rarely trains with us,” said Allardyce. “He has to get himself ready for a game and then after that he has to have that bit longer to rest and recover than everybody else.

“He can live with it. It is going to restrict him somewhat, but he is a very talented young man.”

Two goals this season from nine games, not to mention that double at Cardiff City in the Play-off semi-final and you start to realise just how talented Collison is.

Just think how good he would be if he was fit!

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