By support

27th Apr, 2017 | 8:22pm

'He's like Braveheart': Bilic delivers glowing verdict on West Ham 33-year-old

By Matt Farr

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has compared experienced defender James Collins to legendary Scottish knight Sir William Wallace.

Collins, 33, has spent much of his career wearing the claret and blue of West Ham, and has played an important role for the club under Bilic this season.

The Wales international has struggled with injuries this term, but has managed 18 Premier League appearances, including starts in each of his last five matches.

But Bilic insists that his value to the team extends beyond the playing field, with his vast experience making him a leading figure in the dressing room, drawing comparisons to Wallace, otherwise known as ‘Braveheart.’

In a video shared on the club’s official Twitter account on Thursday, Bilic delivered a glowing verdict of his start defender. He said: “It is great to have him. He is like Braveheart. He does everything.

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“He is very good to have on the pitch and in the dressing room, because he is one of the leaders. He deserves a lot of praise with the quality of his game, with the energy he puts in, and with the dedication and determination.”

Collins first arrived at West Ham in the summer of 2005, joining from Championship outfit Cardiff City.

He went on to make 65 appearances for the club in all competitions during a four-year spell, before being sold to Premier League rivals Aston Villa in September 2009.

But he returned to the east London for a second spell with the Hammers in 2012, and swiftly re-established himself as a regular figure at the heart of the West Ham defence.

His latest spell at the club has seen him notch up a further 129 appearances, but there is opportunity for many more with his contract set to expire at the end of next season.

In other West Ham news, David Gold has delivered an injury update on Twitter ahead of the clash with Stoke.

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