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West Ham Season Preview #6: Is James Collins still good enough?

A fan favorite and a club legend, James Collins is out to prove he’s still got it

Swansea City v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Last Season

The West Ham fan favorite has flitted between the first team and the bench over the past seasons. Collins got off to a fantastic start, scoring a stunning goal against Chelsea in the first match of the season, but sadly things deteriorated from that point. Collins was kept out of the lineup by Angelo Ogbonna and Winston Reid.

Burnley v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images

Despite being nominally third choice, Collins got a fair amount of game time, filling in for injured players, and taking his spot in a back three at times. In January, the addition of Jose Fonte looked set to block Collin’s from the starting lineup. However, an injury to Ogbonna and a switch to a back three allowed Collins into the starting lineup. The Welsh international was one of the better performers over the course of the final few games. His contributions over the last few games were invaluable, with his fighting spirit proving vital to the final relegation battle.

In the end, Collins was one of the few players to perform exactly to expectations. He hardly set the world on fire, but he was a solid back up.

Current Team Placement

It’s difficult to predict the future of West Ham’s defense. So much depends on the formation Bilic decides upon. While the early indications of preseason suggest West Ham will play with a back 4, a run of poor results would probably bring about a formation change.

Arsenal v West Ham United - Premier League
James Collins is set to continue his role as 3rd captain
Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

As for now, Collins is at best the fourth string centerback, and he may also be behind youngster Declan Rice or utility player Cheikhou Kouyate in the pecking order.

Goals For This Season

Expectations for Collins are the same as they have been for the last for years. Provide a calm, dependable reserve option. Perhaps he’ll even win a starting spot. Along the way, he’ll be fighting to help Wales to the World Cup.

If nothing else, hopefully Collins can help train young Declan Rice and prepare him to take a starting position. Though this may be his last season at West ham, Collins has proven time and time again that he is a reliable defender. In a season of high squad turnover an experienced player can be crucial.