Ex-Hammer delighted for former teammates

Former Hammers midfielder Jack Collison has been watching UEFA Euro 2016 with intent
Former midfielder Jack Collison has been delighted to see his former Wales teammates performing so well in France. He cites a Hammers defender as a key factor in their success…
As a former Wales international, it’s been superb to see how well Chris Coleman’s side have done at UEFA Euro 2016 so far. I haven’t been surprised at all by their achievements. It’s been brilliant to see them win a tough group which included England.
There are so many boys in the squad who I have played with at both U21 and senior level or people like Ginge [James Collins] at West Ham and it’s no surprise they’re doing so well. They’re a fantastic tight-knit group and they’re just starting to show that now to the rest of the world.
Of course the brilliance of Gareth Bale often takes the plaudits, but it has been a real team effort, even more so against Russia than in the first two games. Aaron Ramsey was outrageous and some of the stuff he was doing was just a joy to watch.
It’s not only him; Joe Allen has played a key part, playing it simple and keeping things ticking over in the middle and then the defensive line has been really great as well.
So, it’s been a team effort so far and it always helps when you’ve got Gareth Bale in your team, because you know that if you can keep it tight in the defence, if you get one or two opportunities, there’s a good chance he’s going to take one.
Ginge hasn’t got on the pitch yet but he’s a massive character within that squad. He is an experienced head and he’s great to have around off the pitch because he gets on so well with everyone. He has been there and seen it all.
Hopefully we’ll see him on the pitch before the end of the tournament. It would be nice if it was in a semi-final or something, wouldn’t it?! Hopefully he’ll get a boost being in that squad and bring that form back to West Ham for next season.
I think the main aim for Wales was to qualify for the knockout stages, so I think now, every game is a bonus. Nobody is going to want to play Wales at the moment. The way they play, if they keep it tight defensively, they are always going to create chances up field and with Bale and Ramsey there’s a good chance they’ll take one.
Who knows how far they can go now? If they can get through this next round and into the quarter-finals, it would be a massive achievement. I don’t think they want the journey to end, so hopefully they can give it a good go and see where it takes them.
I myself won’t be getting to any matches unfortunately, as I’m now heading out to America – to Boston and New York – to coach for my JC Soccer Schools. It’s the first time we have gone international, so it’s great news and I’m looking forward to it.
The kids are loving it and so are all the coaches, and it’s just great to be delivering good football sessions at pretty much every level. We coach up to 18-year-olds now which is very pleasing.
I can’t wait to get to the US to do some more of the same and teach some of the children the West Ham way!
Keep your eyes peeled for a JC Soccer Schools competition where you can win two tickets to the opening game at the new Stadium on Twitter at @JCsoccerschools