West Ham’s Collison happy to be a Jack of all trades

After an injury-plagued last campaign, Jack Collison is back with a new contract and a wish to pay some people back.

Midfielder Jack Collison celebrated signing a new contract at Upton Park by providing the assist for the winning goal at Doncaster on Saturday.

It was the 22-year-old’s first start of the campaign and his cross for Kevin Nolan to volley home in the fifth minute signified that Collison is finally back after a nightmare last season.

“I’ve said it time and again that after such a long lay-off, I just want to play as many minutes as I can this season,” said the international, who also played the second half of his Wales’ 2-1 friendly defeat by Australia in midweek.

Collison played just three games in May last season as he recovered from a serious knee injury and so when he was offered a new contract by the club, he was keen to put pen to paper.

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“I feel that I owe a lot of people here,” he said. “It’s up to me now it’s all done and dusted. I’ve got to do the business on the pitch.

“It’s great that the club have supported me and shown faith and obviously I want to pay them back now.”

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He paid some of that back at the Keepmoat on Saturday. In the fifth minute he received the ball from James Tomkins and his tempting, teasing ball into the middle sailed over the head of Freddie Piquionne only for the late-arriving Nolan to score with the outside of his boot.

So who was he aiming for?

“Of course I was aiming for Kevin’s Pumas!” he laughed. “No, it’s nice to be involved in the winning goal. That is why we signed Kevin Nolan. He’s known for getting goals and he’s shown that today and he almost had a couple more as well.”

Collison started the game on the right side of midfield as he replaced Freddie Sears from last week’s team. However, the fluid nature of this West Ham midfield meant that he popped up all over the field, including a at times at centre forward.

“I’ve played all over the midfield under the last couple of managers so it’s all experience for me,” said Collison, who has made 54 appearances in claret and blue, scoring five goals.

“I haven’t played on the right really, but to be honest I will play anywhere for the team just to get out on the pitch.

“I was blowing a little bit by the end. Playing on the right means there’s a little bit more running to do than in the middle, but it is something that I will have to get used to.

“The more minutes I play, the more comfortable I will feel.”

He certainly slotted well into this powerful midfield and for Collison, it was the team that was the most important thing.

“I think we played really well, we worked hard,” he said. “The football side of things isn’t quite there yet, but it is three points away from home and it’s a massive boost for us.

“The boys at the back were superb today and it is important to see the way we played as a team. I think we’ve seen a big improvement on the football side.

“We are getting used to playing with each other and to how the manager wants us to play and I am over the moon to get the three points.”

West Ham fans are over the moon to see the midfielder back and if he can stay fit at long last, then he could have a significant part to play in the campaign.

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