The ex-Hammer was picked up by West Ham as a teenager after the youth system at his former side Cambridge United folded and he was forced to continue his development elsewhere.
“It was a bit of a shock when I got to West Ham because the standard was a bit higher than I was used to – I had a lot of question marks over my ability and whether I would make it when I got to 16,” said Collison.
The comments shouldn’t be majorly surprising because West Ham have one of the best youth systems in the Premier League and Football League.
What they do show or stress is the challenge facing any younger player moving to the club from a side at a lower level to West Ham.
That’s where the youth coaches at West Ham step in and earn their money, doing an important job in terms of ensuring that the younger players don’t become overawed by the higher standard.
It’s a good test of character for the youngsters and a measure of whether they can step up, embracing the challenge and providing the first team boss with realistic options over the next few seasons.
That should create a sustainable and prolonged spine running through the heart of the club.