James Collins puts internet rumours to bed as he discusses his respect for Slaven Bilic

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic talks with James Collins

West Ham United veteran James Collins put internet tittle tattle of the past to bed after praising under pressure manager Slaven Bilic.

West Ham's Andy Carroll and James Collins with manager Slaven Bilic before being substitutedJames Collins with manager Slaven Bilic

When Slaven Bilic first took over at West Ham last season it looked like Collins faced an uncertain future after being told in no uncertain terms by Bilic that he was fourth choice centre back following the £8 million capture of Italy international Angelo Ogbonna.

When his chance came in the Europa League and again in the Premier League at Watford the 'Ginger Pele' did himself few favours, being sent off both occasions and costing his team dear.

But the Welsh warrior worked his way back into the side and was one of the club's best players last season until injury ruled him out of the last month of the campaign.

West Ham's James CollinsThe Ginger Pele as Collins is affectionately known to West Ham fans

He was rewarded with a new two-year deal in the summer while Bilic elected to sell homegrown defender James Tomkins.

And despite being in and out of the side as West Ham endure a torrid start to Bilic's second season in charge, Collins had nothing but praise for his manager in an interview on talkSPORT, putting to bed past speculation that the pair didn't get on.

"Slaven would be right up there," Collins told talkSPORT's Sports Bar when asked to name the best coach he's ever worked with.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic celebrates with James Collins after the gameBilic celebrates with Collins

"As soon as he came in you could tell he had a presence about him, obviously he was on to a winner straight away because the West Ham fans loved him when he was a player there.

"He came in and just oozed confidence in himself as a manager and that sort of rubbed off on the lads you know.

"He's a great guy off the pitch but he doesn't always just speak about football, like on a Monday he'll come in and ask about your family and stuff but then later on into the week he's bang into the football.

"He's been tremendous for me personally and for the team as well."

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic talks with James CollinsCollins says Bilic is 'tremendous'

When Collins looked to be on his way out last season, there was widespread speculation on social media and fans forums that the pair did not see eye to eye.

While Collins' professionalism was never called into question, he was believed to have been understandably disgruntled at falling so far down the pecking order.

But he was one of the cornerstones of West Ham's best ever Premier League season in terms of points with Bilic describing him as a 'brilliant professional'.

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