West Ham star James Collins hits back at playacting claims after Swansea incident

West Ham United star James Collins has spoken out after claims he playacted in the 0-0 draw at Swansea City.

The veteran Hammers defender, lovingly known as the 'Ginger Pele' in East London, was one of the best players on the pitch at the Liberty Stadium.

His every touch was booed by the Swansea crowd who have not forgotten the fact Collins came through the ranks and made his name at fierce rivals Cardiff City.

The jeers became even more vociferous after the 32-year-old denied the Swans a certain goal with a brilliant last ditch tackle in the second half on Sunday night.

It was a challenge which left the defender writhing in agony on the floor and clutching his head.

'I wasn't trying to blag it'

But when replays showed Collins had inadvertently handled the ball as it arrowed towards goal, fans and pundit Niall Quinn accused the Welshman of playacting to con the ref into thinking the ball had struck the back of his head.

While the fact the ball struck Collins' hand - albeit completely accidentally - is indisputable, the big centre back has hit back at claims he playacted and revealed he can prove it too.

Posting on his Instagram account, Collins said: "Great support as always...thank you!

"And just to say, I genuinely did get a knee to the back of my head wasn't trying to blag it... Got the lump to prove it."

Crucial Collins

Hammers fans knew full well Collins was not playacting as they worship the former Aston Villa man for his no-nonsense defending.

He was arguably the main reason Slaven Bilic's side came away with a point from a game lacking in any real quality in either final third.

There had been talk Collins could leave the club in January having had a watching brief for much of the season so far and with selection for Wales' Euro 2016 squad foremost in his thoughts.

But with Bilic having to contend with a crippling injury list which has seen star defender Winston Reid ruled out for an extended spell, Hammers fans will be hoping it means Collins is retained for the rest of the season at least.

Any West Ham fan worth their salt knows just how crucial he will be to a successful side.

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