James Collins: Defender could not stay at Aston Villa after injury

James Collins
James Collins made over 90 league appearances during a spell at Aston Villa between 2009 and 2012

Ex-Wales defender James Collins says he cancelled a deal with Aston Villa because he would have felt "embarrassed" to stay on after suffering an injury.

Collins has joined Ipswich on a deal until the end of the season.

The 35-year-old had earlier in the season signed a short-term contract with Villa after training with his former club but injury put paid to an extended spell at Villa Park.

"It just didn't seem right," he said.

"They offered me a short term contract and I got injured the morning I signed the contract and I ripped that up.

"I literally signed the contract, went out to training and pulled my calf in the first warm-up session so I just went in and said 'that's not right to come in and take money,'

"I could have been out for four weeks and I said 'let's rip that up.' It was probably more embarrassment more than anything."

Collins had been without a club following his release by West Ham in the summer and had been training with the Hammers to keep himself fit before linking up with former club Villa.

"I went up there under Steve Bruce and two days in he got the sack and Dean Smith came in and let me carry on training there," Collins added

"When Steve Bruce got the sack they could have said 'thanks a lot, we don't want you' but they kept me on and it just seemed like the right thing to do.

"I was there years ago for three years and loved it up there, such nice people and such a nice football club. They treated me unbelievably.

James Collins
James Collins retired from international football in November 2017 after winning 51 caps for Wales

"At my age I'm not particularly in it for the money - I just want to play more football.

"I had a nice Christmas with my family and luckily I had the call off Ipswich."

Collins made his debut for bottom of the Championship side Ipswich in last Saturday's 1-0 win over Rotherham.

Ipswich are seven points from safety and Collins says with new additions to the squad that Paul Lambert's side can survive this season.

"It's going to be a tough ask but if we'd have lost that game on Saturday it probably would have been a task that was probably too much," Collins said.

"But now we've got the three points we're that much closer. We can only take one game at a time.

"Until it's not possible, we can certainly feel that with the squad we've got now, we can get out of it. It would be unbelievable."

A future move to hometown club?

Before joining Ipswich, Collins revealed he had spoken with Mike Flynn, the manager of hometown club Newport County.

The ex-Cardiff City player is not ruling out a future move to County, who are currently in League Two.

"I was expecting a few more offers to come in and it sort of dried up and my face wasn't about," Collins said.

"I went to school with Flynny and he gave me a call asking would I like to come down.

"To be honest, no disrespect to Newport, I knew I could play at a higher level at this time in my career.

James Collins waves
James Collins had two spells with West Ham United

"I didn't say no to Flynny. I said I was still looking about and we go from there.

"There's still life in the old dog and a couple of years down the line who knows?

"I know for a fact I've got a good couple of years left in me yet."

Hammers disappointment

Collins says he was disappointed at the way West Ham handled his departure from the club last June.

"I didn't really have the chance to say goodbye to people at the club that I'd known for 11 years and say goodbye to the fans properly," he said.

Collins, speaking on the Elis James' Feast of Football podcast added: "If they didn't want me, that's fair enough and that's football.

"But I would have liked more time and a bit more notice that I wasn't going to be taken on.

"It literally came to the last game against Everton and I didn't know whether I was staying or going."

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