Ex-teammate says only injury can hamper West Ham United star James Collins

West Ham's James Collins

Danny Gabbidon says the West Ham United and Wales defender leadership qualities and consistency make him indispensable for club and country.

West Ham's James Collins

Former West Ham United and Wales defender Danny Gabbidon has told the Hammers' official website that his former teammate James Collins is so valuable for both club and country that only injuries can jeopardise his place in either side.

At the age of 32 Collins was a star again for the Hammers as the club enjoyed their most successful season in recent years last term, finishing seventh in the Premier League table and qualifying for the Europa League.

The centre-back was a regular at the heart of the defence and was only limited to 25 appearances in all competitions by injury problems which saw him miss the first six weeks of the season and play just once after the start of March.

Picture Supplied by Action Images

Collins admitted in late April that his slow return from injury was frustrating as he looks ahead to playing for Wales at Euro 2016, something which would surely represent a career highlight for the experienced defender.

However, he recovered to feature as a second-half substitute in the friendly defeat to Sweden on Sunday, and looks set to play at least a small role for Chris Coleman's side in France.

Gabbidon, who played with Collins for West Ham, Wales, and Cardiff City, believes his former teamate's quality and leadership make him priceless for club and country, and says only worsening fitness problems can threaten that.

Gabbidon told the West Ham website: "I was delighted to see James Collins get his call-up, although it was never really in doubt. The only thing that would have kept him out of the squad would have been an injury. He has been one of the mainstays in the Welsh squad for a number of years and his call-up comes off the back of a good season at West Ham.

(From L-R) Wales' James Collins, Ashley Williams, Danny Collins, Gareth Bale and Danny Gabbidon during training

"Ginge is a leader, strong in the air and you know what you are going to get from him because he is a very consistent performer. His leadership skills off the pitch and his personality in the dressing room mean that there is always a better atmosphere when he’s about.

"Even if he doesn’t make the starting eleven, there is still a role for him as one of the senior players in the squad. He has learnt over the years that there are other ways to influence the game and affect the players around you, being a leader off the pitch and by instilling your personality on those around you."

Collins has 370 first-team club appearances under his belt across a 16-year professional career, and won his 47th cap for Wales in the defeat to Sweden at the weekend.

West Ham's James Collins

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch