James Collins reportedly ‘tore up’ his Aston Villa contract last month.

It’s hard not to feel a bit sorry for Aston Villa boss Dean Smith at the moment.

Not only were Aston Villa hammered 3-0 by Wigan on Saturday, but his latest signing, Kortney Hause, didn’t exactly have a dream debut in defence.

The Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee looked very rusty on his first appearance for the Villans, and you could forgive fans of the West Midlands club if they had preferred James Collins.

And they would have if they had seen Collins’s debut at Ipswich Town.

The 35-year-old, who quit Aston Villa an hour after joining in December following a calf injury [The Mirror], rolled back with the years with a stunning defensive display in the Tractor Boys’ 1-0 victory over Rotherham United.

He was so good in fact that Ipswich boss Paul Lambert called him ‘unbelievable’ afterwards, telling EADT: “It’s a massive compliment to him for wanting to be here. He’s been training with West Ham a little bit, but to come and do what he did today was unbelievable.

“I thought James Collins, and all of the new lads, were excellent.”

It could and perhaps should have been Aston Villa benefiting from Collins’s appetite to impress, which will make his dream debut that bit harder to accept.

Had he gone out and scored a couple of own goals for Ipswich yesterday then maybe Villans fans’ could have lived with that, but his ‘unbelievable’ performance makes the defeat at Wigan, and Hause’s shaky bow, a bit harder to stomach.

In other news, Newcastle reportedly want manager-player combo which would cost £34m-a-year