Collison: ‘The time for talking is over, it’s time for West Ham to just win’
Hammers midfielder Jack Collison returned to action after 14-months out with injury, and now he wants to do everything he can to save West Ham from the drop.
West Ham midfielder Jack Collison has had to do a lot of talking and not a lot of playing during 14 months out with an injury.
But after his return to action against Blackburn on Saturday, he insists that the time for talking both for him and the team is over.
The 22-year-old last appeared in claret and blue in February 2010 in a 3-0 defeat at Manchester United, but since then a bad knee injury has left him on the sidelines and watching helplessly as the team plunged back towards relegation.
“The boys are working hard, the staff have put the hours in, but it is a matter of going out there now and doing it – enough talking,” said Collison, who came on as a 64th minute substitute to help West Ham grab an equaliser on Saturday.
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“We have talked all season about how we are good enough to get out of it, but the league table does not lie and we have a cup final next week and the following week.
“We need two wins and hopefully that is enough.”
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After so long out of the game, it was understandable that Collison looked a little leggy when he came on against Rovers, but he was just ecstatic to be back in the thick of things.
“I had mixed emotions,” he admitted. “Obviously it was great to get out on the pitch after such a long lay-off. It would have been nice had we got the three points as we created a lot of chances.
“We showed great fighting spirit after going 1-0 down to get back into the game. We are still in with a fighting chance, two games, two wins and hopefully we can do it.”
Collison has had plenty of time to think about the position that West Ham are in. Formerly a Chelsea supporter, he now firmly has claret and blue blood running through his veins.
“It has been very hard and I felt like a fan to be honest,” said the midfielder. “I can see how much hard work it is. At times we have played some great stuff and the results haven’t gone for us, but we are where we are.”
Collison has certainly had to work hard to get back to fitness, but he is quick to praise the staff at West Ham for helping him along the way.
“I had been waiting long enough to get another go at it and it is what I had been working hard for in the past 14 months. There have been long days and it is great to be out there,” he said.
“It was a great feeling after all the hard work and the physios did well in not rushing me. They worked hard and it is not just one or two, it is a group of five and six. I owe a lot of people a lot of things.”
That means winning at Wigan on Sunday, a stadium that will bring back some painful memories for Collison.
“Cheers for reminding me,” said Collison with a wry smile. “I did my knee there before so I have got to go back there and get the three points.
“I hope to be involved, but it is about the team, not an individual, and at the moment we need to pull together in the same direction.”
Collison is clearly an important part of this squad. Manager Avram Grant admitted that he took a big risk in putting the midfielder into the action on Saturday.
“It was a gamble, I will be honest,” said Grant after Saturday’s 1-1 draw. “Of course, if everything was normal we could wait a little bit longer, but I think he did a good job.
“He came with a lot of enthusiasm, he is a very good player and it is not easy to play after injury for more than one year, but he did well.”
Collison certainly offers something a little bit different to the West Ham squad, not to mention his ability to score goals. Saturday was his 50th appearance in claret and blue and he has five goals to his name so far.
But for the moment, the midfielder is merely looking at the next game.
“It is a massive task, we know that, we are not going to lie,” he said. “We are where we are and we go to Wigan next week and it is a must-win game.
“We have to take three points, but they will be thinking the same, so it is set up to be a cup final. I am looking forward to it.”
West Ham fans can be forgiven for dreading it rather than looking forward to it, but they will be heartened by the return of Collison.
If West Ham do go down and it does seem inevitable, then the midfield man could be a vital cog in their rebuilding.