JAMES Collins made his Premiership League debut last night and what a tough place to make it - at Goodison Park against an Everton team who were bouyant after holding Manchester United to a 1-1 draw at the weekend. James puts the result and the outstanding performance down to teamwork, hard work and confidence.
Speaking after the game last night he said: "The
boys are delighted with the result because it's a tough
place to come. To be fair, everyone has been fantastic in these
three away games, but tonight it was outstanding all over the park,
probably the best we've played away. We have really been
playing like a team recently and it's a very happy
dressing room I can tell you!
"They had gone ahead, but we knew we had to keep confident. We got back on level terms with the own goal, from Tomas' cross and we went into half-time, saying that if we could keep passing the ball the way we had been doing and playing the way we were, we were going to get something out of it. Then Bobby popped up with the winner, which was fantastic.
"We were all in there fighting, which is what you have to do especially away from home. The aim from these games was to get as many points as possible. In this game when we got the lead, it was then about holding onto that and we did that really well. For me, Anton Ferdinand was absolutely out of this world tonight."
James is obviously delighted to get his chance to show his
stuff on the Premiership stage, but the fact it is as a result
of his close friend and teammate Danny Gabbidon getting injured is
"Gabbs got injured and I was gutted for him but I just had to go out there and do what I could do. Gabbs did text me before the game and wished me luck and all the best and he said he knows what I can do, so that was really nice. It's unfortunate for Gabbs to be injured, but I came in and we've won, if he's not fit for Saturday, then hopefully I will be picked to play again.
"Gabbs is a superb player and he'll be fit and ready when he's needed again. This has happened before when we played at Cardiff and for Wales this season. Gabbs picked up an injury and I stepped in then. We're good mates, support each other and tell each other how we've played. So I'm sure he will tell me what he thinks of my performance here, just like I would do to him! But we're always happy for each other when we play and always make sure to tell each other whether we think we have been bad or good!
"It's unfortunate for him that he's injured when he's been doing so well, but also for me, I came here to play games and if I'm needed I want to play as much as I can. It's been a wait to get my chance, but I was pleased to get it tonight and how I got on. I must admit the first 10 minutes I was a bit rusty and I was a bit disappointed with the goal. James Beattie got across me. But as the game went on I was pretty pleased with my performance.
"Obviously it is a case of showing the gaffer what I
can do and to make an impression, but I had to put their goal
out my head, because if I would have kept thinking about it
for the rest of the 80 minutes, then it could have affected us. I
thought we just got better as the game
progressed and deserved the win which was the important
"We knew the threat from them, but myself and Anton were ready for that and as the game went on, there was Beattie, then Duncan Ferguson came on, but I thought we handled them well."
Before the Birmingham game, everyone was viewing this tough run of away games as a crucuial part of the Hammers' season and James is delighted the team has come away from them with six points in the bag and seventh spot in the table.
"Coming away from these games with six points is brilliant and everyone is very happy. The gaffer's happy, because it's never easy at these places. It's a huge boost for us ahead of playing Newcastle at home this Saturday. That's another tough game against them, but we did well up there earlier in the season and if we can play like we did then and how we've been performing these past ten days, then I'm sure we can get a result.
"If I get picked to play I am of course looking forward to coming up against Michael Owen, it's what the Premiership is all about and why I came to West Ham to play against these teams and these type of players. If we can get a win and I can put in a good performance, that will be another job done."