West Ham's Jack Collison goes off after sustaining an injury
Collison played 105 games for the Hammers, scoring 11 goals, including crucial strikes in the Championship Play-Off semi-final victory over Cardiff City in 2012.
The Watford-born former Wales midfielder grew up idolising Chelsea, the team of his late dad, but that did not stop him growing to love the supporters of one of their fiercest rivals.
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Injuries cut short great talent's career
But a series of devastating injuries restricted his playing time and has now ended his career at just 27.
The former Wales international - who has been training to be a sports journalist - has been coaching Peterborough United's Under 18s and also helping with Posh's U21 side.
And Collison, who has played under the likes of Curbishley, Gianfranco Zola, Avram Grant, Sam Allardyce and Eddie Howe has been reflecting on what makes a good manager in an interview with The Coaching Network Magazine.
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'I loved playing under Zola'
When asked who were the top managers he had worked with, Collison did not hesitate to name Italian and Blues legend Zola and Cherries boss Howe.
"I loved playing under Gianfranco Zola at West Ham," Collison told The Coaching Network.
"He was very good at managing his players, whether you were a key part of his team or one of the young lads trying to break through, he took time to improve each and everyone as an individual.
"It also helped he was an absolute legend of the game and probably the best player I have seen in training even as a manager.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe acknowledges fans after the game
'Eddie impressed me'
"I also enjoyed my short spell with Bournemouth, Eddie Howe was very impressive and it's easy to see why he is doing so well,"
Collison's sentiments may surprise some given he has worked with established long-serving managers such as Sunderland boss Allardyce and Curbishley.
Meanwhile, Zola, who went on to manage Watford, is currently plying his trade as the manager of Al-Arabi in the footballing backwater that is the Qatari league.