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West Ham boss: Collins is like Braveheart!

PUBLISHED: 16:30 27 April 2017

West Ham United's James Collins berates a team mate during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.

West Ham United's James Collins berates a team mate during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.

PA Archive/PA Images

Wales international is given Scottish hero's nickname

Mel Gibson as BraveheartMel Gibson as Braveheart

As a proud Welshman, James Collins may not appreciate it, but West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has nicknamed him ‘Braveheart’ after his recent swashbuckling displays.

The 33-year-old central defender has been in fine form since he returned to the starting line-up following injury to Winston Reid.

And he continued that form even when Reid returned against Everton, helping to keep Romelu Lukaku and his Toffee team-mates out in a three-man defence.

And Bilic has been impressed with Collins both on and off the field, saying: “He is exactly the same off the pitch as he is on it. He is a great man to have, he is a ‘Braveheart.’

West Ham United's James Collins celebrates after team-mate West Ham United's Sofiane Feghouli (not in picture) scores his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the London Stadium, London.West Ham United's James Collins celebrates after team-mate West Ham United's Sofiane Feghouli (not in picture) scores his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the London Stadium, London.

“He is also good in the dressing room, because he is one of the leaders, with a big heart.

“He is there for everyone, but he is also a joker. He likes to make fun.”

Collins is likely to keep his place in the team for the trip to Stoke City tomorrow, either in a three-man defence or if the team revert to a back four.

And with one more year left on his contract, there is a train of thought that suggests West Ham may not need to strength in central defence in the summer, putting paid to ludicrous links to Chelsea’s 36-year-old John Terry.

“He deserves a lot of praise for the way he is playing with the energy and determination and dedication he puts in,” said Bilic.

Collins has made 195 appearances in claret and blue over two spells at the club and the way he went into the crowd to talk to fans after the 0-0 draw with Everton, shows just how much he loves the club still.

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