West Ham centre-half James Collins has ended speculation surrounding his future by signing a two-year contract extension.
The Wales international’s deal was due to expire at the end of the season, prompting suggestions he was set for a January reunion with former Hammers boss Sam Allardyce at Sunderland.
But a string of recent fine performances have persuaded Slaven Bilic to offer the 32-year-old fresh terms, which commit Collins – who left the club in 2009 for a spell with Aston Villa – to West Ham until the end of the 2017-18 campaign.
“I’m obviously delighted to sign, as it was worrying me a bit that I’d have to leave again,” he said. “To be signing for another two years, I can’t explain how happy I am to be part of a club that is moving forward and getting bigger and bigger, so to be part of that is unbelievable.
“I try to be professional, as I’ve been in teams where players make a negative effect when they’re not playing, so I am just proud to be part of such an amazing club. I’m happy coming in every morning, whether I’m playing or not playing, and I train hard and try to keep myself fit.
“Like I said, to be part of such a big club for such a long time, I’m a very lucky boy. To sign for another two years is something that, to be honest, looked doubtful at the start of the season, so I got my head down and trained hard and tried to show what I could do.”
Collins has made over 160 appearances for West Ham across two spells and is looking forward to playing for West Ham when they leave Upton Park for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park ahead of the new season.
“It’s massive and that was the biggest thing in my head, really – to be part of something that is moving forward and is so big,” he added. “The thought of not being involved in it was getting me down a little bit.
“The thought of not being involved in this club, and with the fans who I have got a special relationship with and have always been great to me, was playing on my mind.
“As soon as I knew I could get a chance, I had to perform to be involved in that, and fortunately that’s what has happened.”
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