Move him into the sun -- -
Gently its touch awoke him once,
It has been confirmed that Jack Collison will be away from the trenches for almost two months with a dislocated kneecap, raising hopes that he could, at least, return to action before the end of the season. The 20-year-old Wales midfielder was injured in the second half of the 1-0 win at Wigan Athletic last Wednesday, when he lost his footing near the touchline as he controlled the ball and his knee crumpled as he fell awkwardly. Collison underwent an arthroscopy to assess the extent of the injury on Tuesday and is reported to be recovering well. The youngster has made 16 league appearances this season, scoring three goals, and also established himself as a full international.
The news follows the confirmation earlier this week that Valon Behrami will be out for six months with an anterior cruciate ligament injury in his left knee. The 23-year-old midfielder had been injured in the 1-0 victory against Manchester City earlier this month. Meanwhile, the official site reports Luis Boa Morte (groin), Kieron Dyer (calf) and James Collins (hamstring) are all doing well in training - with the former the closest to a first-team return.
One player definitely on the comeback trail is Holmar Eyjolfsson, who made a triumphant return to action in the reserve team's 1-0 win against Arsenal on Monday night. The highly talented Iceland Under-21 international's performance was all the more impressive considering it was his first full 90 minutes since October. The unlucky central defender has been sidelined for much of this season with injury and his last taste of action came in a reserve game in January. "It was brilliant, especially as I'm coming back from injury after such a long time out," Eyjolfsson told the official site. "I played 70 minutes against Fulham in January but the before that I've been out since October so I haven't had many games since then so it was lovely."
Signed by West Ham United from Icelandic side HK Kopavogur in July after spending a week on trial five months earlier, Eyjolfsson has been impressive in five reserve and four youth team appearances so far. Now the 18-year-old wants to follow in the footsteps of reserve partner Bondz N'Gala - who was named as a substitute against Stoke City in the Premier League in December - and force his way into Gianfranco Zola's first-team plans. "I've played about three games for the Under-18s but that was a long time ago so it's good to be able to step back up to reserve team level and push on. For the rest of the season I want to train as hard as I can and try to get in the first-team and see where it takes me."
In other news, today's Mirror claims West Ham United intend to pay nothing to Sheffield United over the Carlos Tevez affair. The curious little article insists Sheffield United face a stormy tribunal next week with the Hammers after learning the club propose paying them no compensation in the ongoing dispute. A tribunal is scheduled to reconvene on Monday to consider the size of damages to the Blades, who were relegated from the Premier League in 2007. It is thought they want in excess of £40million, but West Ham's legal team aim to prove the cost of salaries in the top flight mean the Blades would not have been better off if they had stayed up.
Finally, in the same paper, Dan Silver makes a spirited case for why Carlton Cole should win Goal of the Season for his strike in West Ham United’s win over Wigan Athletic. Like the war poems of Wilfred Owen that were born on the bloody fields of World War One, he writes, last week’s Battle of the JJB produced a thing of equally unexpected and supposedly unimaginable beauty: a wonder-goal scored by Carlton Cole.
Despite referee Stuart Atwell’s attempts to daub his name across the game’s canvass like so much graffiti, it was the much-maligned West Ham striker who provided the game’s most memorable moment. Indeed, such was the subtle artistry of the move that Cole finished so gracefully that, had it been scored by Dennis Bergkamp or Thierry Henry during Arsenal’s Invincibles season, we’d still be talking of it now. Given that modern balls are designed to move as dramatically – and lethally - through the air as laser guided missiles, I think it only right that the campaign to have Cole’s strike crowned Goal of the Season starts here and now.
If Paul Konchesky’s fantastic – yet flukey - long-range effort, coincidentally scored against the Hammers, merited the monthly accolade, then West Ham’s infinitely more impressive and skilful flowing team move undoubtedly deserves the overall gong. Football fans of Britain: you have nothing to lose but your love of the long-range rocket. So shake off your shackles and appreciate the aesthetic pleasure of the perfect passing move instead.