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The Arizonan, Chris of Jokes

John Collins takes Player of the Month award

last updated Friday 22nd September 2000, 6:40 PM
For a man charged with the on-field responsibility of masterminding Fulham's bid to reach the Premiership, John Collins is remarkably relaxed.

Receiving his Nationwide League Player of the Month award after inspiring his team's flying start to the campaign, Collins is content to share the plaudits around rather than hogging the praise for himself.

The £2 million close season signing from Everton was brought to Craven Cottage as the fulcrum around which new manager Jean Tigana would build a team aimed at not only gaining promotion but also establishing the club in the top flight.

Collins has slipped into the role comfortably and confidently, the 32 year old former Celtic and Scotland midfielder having previously played for Tigana at Monaco and thus knowing exactly what the French coach would expect from him.

"When Jean rang me and told me about his plan for Fulham," said Collins after receiving his Nationwide award, "he said his aim was to make a small club into a big one.

"He said he wanted to mould the team around me, and after thinking long and hard about it I decided it was a challenge I wanted to take up.

"It was Jean who signed me at Monaco and I had two great years there. I had a very good working relationship with him. He has a terrific football knowledge, but I've also got a lot of respect for him as a person - he's a good, honest man.

"I like his football style, it's total football if you like with everybody taking responsibility. So although the team is playing around me, the system we play means there are always lots of options.

"We've started the season terrifically well, it couldn't have gone better.  It's not just the results though, it's the way we are playing and scoring lots of goals.

"The players are working hard during the week as well as in matches, giving the manager the commitment he expects. That is going to be very important to us as the season goes on.

"After the start we've made teams are going to try and stop us playing, but that's something we have to adapt to.

"We've certainly got the quality in the side to do that, so hopefully we can build on our great start to achieve the aims which everybody at the club is working towards."

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