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West Ham defender is on the crest of a wave

PUBLISHED: 14:00 19 October 2015

James Collins takes on Wilfried Zaha in Crystal Palace v West Ham

James Collins takes on Wilfried Zaha in Crystal Palace v West Ham

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There is no stopping Hammers centre half James Collins at the moment

Wales celebrate qualification with James Collins at the backWales celebrate qualification with James Collins at the back

For West Ham defender James Collins he’s never had it so good. Last week, he was part of the magnificent Wales squad that were celebrating qualification to Euro 2016, this week he was back in the Hammers team and helping them to victory at Selhurst Park.

“I’m on the crest of a wave really,” said a delighted Collins after Saturday’s 3-1 win. “Wales last week was an incredible experience, one of the best of my career.

“To do what we have done with the Welsh team is amazing. It was unbelievable to achieve that later on in my career and then coming back and getting in the West Ham team – it has been a great week.”

It certainly has and something of a surprise as going into the match, Collins, who had not played a league game all season, looked like he was fourth in the pecking order.

James Collins at Selhurst ParkJames Collins at Selhurst Park

“I came back from Wales and saw Winston (Reid) was struggling in training and Angelo (Ogbonna) hasn’t trained much, so the gaffer said I was going in and hopefully I can stay in now,” he explained.

“Being on the winning side certainly helps and I have done myself no harm. I think I played well, so let’s see how long it can last.”

It is tantamount to the strength in depth that the Hammers now have that they can be without two vital defenders, but still travel to high-flying Palace and put in a fine performance.

And Collins was quick to point out one of the main reasons for the victory at Palace.

James Collins at Selhurst ParkJames Collins at Selhurst Park

“We knew they were going to come out of the blocks quickly, but we matched them and probably had the first couple of chances,” said the 32-year-old.

“We have started slowly in some games and struggled, but luckily got points out of it, but against Palace we were bang on. The gaffer got it into us that it was going to be a tough start and we took that on board.”

Saturday’s game was very similar to the match at Sunderland, where the Hammers had to break down a team reduced to 10 men, but this time, although they left it late, they got the winning goals they deserved.

“I think we showed more patience in this game,” he said. “It is tricky sometimes because you always think you have got to beat 10 men, but it can be harder because they defend so hard.

“But we have the quality in the team and if we keep giving these boys the ball, they will create chances and score.

“Andy has come on and I thought he was tremendous and he set up the second goal. As a team, as long as we defend well we are going to score them at the other end.”

Collins, as always, gave everything to the cause. He blocked and tackled his heart out and even suffered a nasty blow, though that was never likely to see him come off.

“It was nothing,” he said. “I just got an elbow in the ribs. I think he got me on an in breath, but after 30 seconds I was all right again.”

There were stories last week that suggested Collins could join Sam Allardyce at Sunderland in January, but any thoughts that the Welshman was surplus to requirements at Upton Park, seem far from accurate.

He has already played 156 games in claret and blue and he should know how this West Ham team compares to ones of the past.

“I don’t think we are in a false position,” he insisted. “Look at the way we are playing, the way we are creating chances and defending.

“If you are being greedy you can look at the couple of home games we have lost and you can think higher. That is the way we are thinking.

“We have got great players, this is the best West Ham squad I have been involved in during the eight or nine years I have been here. These are exciting times and hopefully I can stay in this team for a while.”

If he does, then we all know he will let nobody down.

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