A year is a long time in football for West Ham star
PUBLISHED: 08:45 14 May 2013 | UPDATED: 10:45 14 May 2013
One of West Ham’s play-off heroes, Jack Collison, made just his fifth start of the season at Everton on Sunday
This time last year, Jack Collison was a West Ham hero.
His two goals in the first leg of the Championship play-offs at Cardiff City catapulted the side towards Wembley and he won his battle against injury to be fit and play his part in that memorable victory over Blackpool in the final at Wembley.
Since then, things have not gone so smoothly for the 24-year-old Wales international midfielder, who has been plagued by a knee injury for the past three years.
Sunday’s start in the 2-0 defeat at Everton was his first since he played in a similar defeat at Chelsea in March, while he has only managed to start five Premier League matches in claret and blue all season.
“It was frustrating to miss the first part of the season and you could say that I have paid for that by not getting as many minutes as I would have hoped for,” said Collison at Goodison Park.
“It was great to end last season scoring a few goals and winning promotion, we all left to go on our summer holidays on a real high. But that is football, sometimes what goes around, comes around.”
It certainly does. Last season, Collison started the majority of the Championship league games on the way to promotion, but the arrival of Mo Diame and Matt Jarvis, as well as his injury problems have severely restricted that this season.
Collison has been knocking on the door with some useful appearances off the bench recently, but when he finally got his chance on Sunday, it proved to be a baptism of fire for the midfielder.
“I have been biding my time waiting for a start and it finally came against Everton, but it was a bit frustrating as it was a very tough game to come into,” he admitted.
“Fair play to Everton, they were very good and we were a little bit off if.”
That is something of an understatement. The Toffees ran amok among the Hammers midfield and defence, scoring early and going close to adding a couple more in the opening 20 minutes as the team and the crowd paid homage to departing manager David Moyes.
“The early goal didn’t help and we knew that they would be trying their hardest to give Moyes a good send off,” reflected Collison. “We were ready for that challenge, looking forward to the game, but unfortunately it was one of those games. It possible made it more difficult it being Moyes’ last game, but we were up for it too, looking to finish our last away game on a high and finish as high up the table as we could.
“Thankfully we have one last game to make sure we do that.”
Reading are the visitors to Upton Park on Sunday and it will be the first game for manager Sam Allardyce since he signed his new two-year deal at the club.
Collison feels he really deserved the new deal. “He has done brilliantly,” he said. “It is so difficult for the teams going down to come up in the first season, but he did that last year and this season he has got us stable in the Premier League which is great for the club. He is a good manager and hopefully he can look to build something special now.”