Can Collison pick up where Parker left off for West Ham?

Collison has the ability to lead the Hammers to glory next season

Like most fans, those who follow West Ham have always been on the look-out for the next great to grace their side and with Scott Parker’s departure imminent, the search has begun for a new favourite.

The England international’s tough tackling, hard-working performances meant the fans held him in the highest regard and his appearance from the bench in Sunday’s dismal 3-0 defeat to Sunderland led to chants of “We only have one man”.

Parker was last week named Hammer of the Year for the third season in a row and his performances for both club and country mean the likes of Tottenham and Arsenal are likely to show a keen interest in the �10 million-rated midfielder.

There is little chance the Hammers will find a like-for-like immediate replacement, but Jack Collison is someone who could in the future become just as effective.

Like Parker, Collison is industrious, a good passer of the ball and is athletic enough to support the strikers.

Thirteen months out with a knee injury has hampered his progress, but starting the final two games of the campaign will give the Welsh international a spring board for next season, when the pressure will be on him and his team-mates to deliver.

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There is little doubt that Collison has the potential to become a real star and the Welsh international believes learning from the likes of Parker will put him in good stead to perhaps emulate his achievements.

“We’ll see what happens. They are big boots to fill. Scotty Parker has been unbelievable and it’s been a pleasure for players like myself and other young players to watch him day-in, day-out in training and the intensity he attacks everything with is quite amazing,” Collison said.

“Obviously a lot of clubs are going to be interested in Scotty now and I don’t think any West Ham fan can say anything bad about him. He’s worked his heart out all season and, at times, has done unbelievable things.

“I remember the Wigan (home) game. He was ill all week, turned up on the weekend, scored a goal and was absolutely unbelievable. He could hardly move on the Friday, so things like that will always live with me and it’s been a pleasure to play with Scotty.”

Relegation has hit the Hammers hard, but Collison is determined to be positive about the future and in true Parker style issued a rallying call for next season.

“It’s all experience and I know a lot of the young players are relishing the opportunity. It’s a massive club and the people should be working hard to play for the claret and blue. We’ve got great traditions,” he said.

“Obviously it hasn’t been a great season, but the people above will have a busy summer and will be eager to bounce back.

“It’s very important. It’s a great club and a massive club with great traditions and if you look at the support on Sunday, I don’t think many clubs would have had that amount of fans turn up and be so great even after being relegated the week before. They sang their hearts out, even at 3-0 down.

“A club like West Ham doesn’t deserve this, so hopefully we can bounce back next season and get back in the big time where we belong.”

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