Jack Collison: Diangana shone brighter than Rice at West Ham
Former West Ham player Jack Collison has been talking exclusively to Ladbrokes this week about his memories at Upton Park and all things Premier League, including the title winners and the Hammers’ top-four prospects.
Here, though, the former Wales international, whose career was ended abruply at the age of 26 because of knee injuries, discusses ex-Hammer Grady Diangana, who hopes to return to the Premier League with West Brom.
Diangana stood out ahead of Declan Rice at West Ham
West Brom really do have a great player in Grady Diangana. It was interesting in my first session back at West Ham when I returned as a coach with the academy, I went out and watched the under-23s. Ben Johnson would have been training, Declan Rice would probably have been there too, but Grady was the one who really stood out – he was just so exciting.
Every time he gets on the ball, you almost expect something to happen, whether he’s going to take someone on or make a key pass. I think Grady’s got a really big future ahead of him. He’s still so young and it’s probably frustrating him at the moment that he’s not contributing as much as he would like – but that’s football and these are the moments that test you as a player and as a person.
They’re only going to help his game improve in the long run because he’s a dedicated young lad. There’s no doubt to anyone watching him – regardless of who you support – if you’re a fan of this beautiful game then you’ve got to appreciate players like Diangana. Unpredictable, capable of moments of magic off the cuff, they’re the type of guys you pay your money to go and watch.
Grady’s among a group of kids right now that are frightening; the likes of Phil Foden who can play anywhere across that front line and just looks so comfortable. Grady’s very much of that same mould, coming from a club where he’d have been encouraged to play on either wing in a variety of different ways.
For him now, it’s just about finding that consistency and working out the expectations that are there for him from the management at West Brom. Anyone that’s seen him play knows there are bags and bags of potential. It’s just about trying to find a way to bring that out on a more regular basis.
It’s been great to watch Grady’s rise, from featuring for the first team at West Ham, to then going out on loan and playing such a big part at West Brom. As someone who has spent time in and around the academy, I know West Ham Football Club are very proud of him.