Tottenham legend praises West Ham defender after vital win

Tottenham Hotspur legend and BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks has paid tribute to West Ham United defender James Collins after naming the Welshman in his Premier League Team of the Weekend.

The Irons centre-back helped his team end a run of five straight top flight defeats as they beat Swansea City 1-0 at the London Stadium, in a result that moved Slaven Bilic’s men eight points clear of the 18th-placed Welsh outfit.

The Hammers’ relegation fears had intensified following the poor run of form, and they could have found themselves just three points above the bottom three if they had been beaten by Paul Clement’s side on Saturday.

Bilic knew that he needed his experienced players to stand up and put in a brilliant performance, and that is exactly what happened as they kept a clean sheet, with Cheikhou Kouyate’s first-half strike proving to be the difference between the two teams.

Crooks was quick to single out centre-back Collins for praise, with his committed performance and ability to deal with Fernando Llorente impressing the 59-year-old.

Crooks told BBC Sport: “There was so much riding on this result and Bilic did well to put his faith in an old head with a lot of experience.

“James Collins was that man and he did everything that needed to be done. He was magnificent in the air and needed to be, particularly when Fernando Llorente came on in the second half for Swansea.

“The Spanish centre-forward raised the stakes for the Hammers and it forced Collins to put his body on the line on a number of occasions.”

The Wales international was making just his 18th appearance of the season for the Hammers, and he will hope that he can help the team to two successive wins when they face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Article title: Tottenham legend praises West Ham defender after vital win

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