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It may have only have lasted just over five minutes, but for West Ham midfielder Jack Collison it was the end of yet another marathon.

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Still only 24, the Wales international has already been through three serious knee injuries that may have broken a less determined player.

Not Collison. After just 45 minutes in last Monday’s Development game at Norwich, he was selected on the bench for Saturday’s clash with Everton and with 88 minutes on the clock, he was given his chance.

“It’s difficult to say whether it was a surprise to be included,” said Collison after the 2-1 defeat.

“We are struggling for numbers a little bit at the moment. I’m sure if we had less injuries then the manager would have kept me back for another week or so.

“But I felt good on Monday, I got through 45 minutes and if the boss needed me at any point, I knew that I had that 45 minutes under my belt.”

Collison was one of the heroes of last season. He scored both goals in the Play-off semi-final victory in Cardiff to propel the Hammers towards the final and then played his part at Wembley against Blackpool, despite not being 100 per cent fit.

But after that he had not kicked a ball in anger for the Hammers first team until Saturday’s Everton game as he was forced to undergo yet another operation on his knee and set off on the long road to rehabiliation once again.

“It was great to be out there, it has been a long time coming,” said Collison,

“I really enjoyed my football last year, being in the team most weeks, so it was a bit of a blow to miss the start of the season.

“It has been frustrating, of course, but I have had my fair share of injuries to deal with in the past, so you could say I used my fair share of experience to get through it.”

While he was on, Collison had a couple of touches of the ball as West Ham looked to carve out an equaliser, but it is how the knee felt which is the most important thing for the former Academy boy.

“It feels great at the moment and hopefully it will continue like this,” insisted the midfielder. “I need to get more minutes under my belt and keep training for the next three weeks and hopefully he will start throwing me in.”

Amid all the injuries that West Ham are suffering at the moment, the return of Collison is a welcome piece of good news.

And a fit and firing Jack Collison can only be an asset to the Hammers in the difficult weeks to come.

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