Richard Dunne says James Collins was his best ever Aston Villa team-mate

The West Ham defender has drawn praise from his loyal former centre-back partner at Villa.

Former Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne says West Ham United centre-back James Collins was his best ever team-mate at the Midlands club, according to the club's official website.

Dunne and Collins had formed a reliable partnership at the heart of defence for Villa and the former can't think of anyone better that he played alongside at Villa Park.

Collins is now at West Ham, while Dunne is retired following a spell at Queens Park Rangers after leaving Villa.

And, when asked who his best team-mate was, he told the Villa site during an edition of the 'Big Interview': "I'd say James Collins because I played alongside him for so many games.

"You looked across and Ginge was a player I could trust. We bought the best out in each other.

"I knew if I missed a ball or a tackle, he'd be there to help out - and vice versa."

West Ham fans have been treated to a taste of just how reliable Collins can be this season.

The 32-year-old has been with Hammers since 2012, of course, but found his place in the starting line-up questioned last summer. He duly stepped in during West Ham's injury crisis this term and produced memorable performances that had both supporters and co-owner David Gold absolutely raving about the centre-back.

If only Aston Villa had a defender as dependable as these two in their prime right now!

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