BBC pundit admits concern over James Collins, claims he was immense against Stoke

Mame Biram Diouf of Stoke City and James Collins of West Ham United battle for possession during the Premier League match between Stoke City and West Ham United at Bet365 Stadium on...

West Ham United beat Stoke City 3-0 on Saturday afternoon.

James Collins of West Ham United warms up during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Leicester City at London Stadium on March 18, 2017 in Stratford, England.

Pundit Garth Crooks has told BBC Sport that he was worried when West Ham United were forced to start James Collins against Stoke – but thought he was immense.

The Hammers picked up another positive result on Saturday afternoon, as goals from Mark Noble, Marko Arnautovic and Diafra Sakho handed West Ham a 3-0 win over Stoke.

David Moyes has now taken seven points from his last three games, guiding West Ham out of the relegation zone as his reign finally starts to take flight.

James Collins of West Ham United waits in the tunnel as the game is delayed due to a powercut prior to the Premier League match between Stoke City and West Ham United at Bet365 Stadium on...

The Hammers will now be looking to take their upturn in Premier League form to the Carabao Cup tie against Arsenal tonight, before facing a huge game against Newcastle United at the London Stadium this weekend.

Moyes will be particularly pleased with the clean sheet against Stoke, which was their third in a week despite being without star centre back Winston Reid at the Bet365 Stadium.

James Collins came in and performed admirably, but one pundit has admitted that he was concerned the Welsh international would be a major problem for the Hammers.

Mame Biram Diouf of Stoke City and James Collins of West Ham United battle for possession during the Premier League match between Stoke City and West Ham United at Bet365 Stadium on...

Garth Crooks has told BBC Sport that he was concerned when the team sheet came through and Collins was in the defence instead of Reid, highlighting his lack of first-team football this season.

However, Crooks admitted that he was wrong about Collins, branding his performance 'immense', adding that he didn't need to worry about the veteran slotting into the West Ham defence.

“When I realised that Winston Reid was unavailable for West Ham's game against Stoke because of suspension and would be replaced by James Collins, my immediate thought was concern,” said Crooks. “Collins has played very little first-team football for the Hammers this season and was up against a Stoke side desperate for points. I shouldn't have worried. Collins was immense,” he added.

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