Jack Collison's decisive strike in West Ham's 1-0 victory at Stoke was his first match-winning contribution since last May's Championship play-off semi-final at Cardiff City.
Like Paul McGrath and Ledley King before him, the 24-year-old midfielder plays despite a chronic right knee problem that limits his ability to train between matches. After aggravating it during last term's promotion effort, Collison did not play until December after a clean-out operation but his persistence despite a problem which originated with a dislocated kneecap in 2009 merits the highest praise according to West Ham manager Sam Allardyce.
"It's an unfortunate thing he has to live with that he manages extremely well as a young professional. It's a great shame that he knows the knee is never going to be 100 per cent any more," said Allardyce.
"His management of that knee is a great credit to him and the medical staff. It is about doing his own training. He has to get himself ready for a game and after that he has to have that bit longer rest and recovery."
Goals: West Ham United Collison 45.
Substitutions: Stoke City Shea (Kightly, 67), Jones (Walters, 74), Adam (Whelan, 77). West Ham United Collison (Taylor, 10), Vaz Te (Cole, 11), Pogatetz (Jarvis, 83).
Bookings: Stoke N'Zonzi. West Ham Collins, Carroll.
Man of the match Vaz Te. Match rating 6/10.
Possession: Stoke 52%. West Ham 48%.
Attempts on target: Stoke 2. West Ham 3.
Referee J Moss (West Yorkshire). Att 22,690.Reuse content