Premier League

Long-term injury absentee Jack Collison played 45 minutes for West Ham's reserves

Jack Collison has stepped up his return from a long-term knee injury

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Jack Collison took the first tentative steps on his comeback from a long-term knee injury with a run-out in the West Ham development squad.

The Wales international, who has not featured since the Championship play-off final, played 45 minutes of the U21 Premier League defeat at Norwich on Monday.

"It was great to be back out there again," the 24-year-old told the club's official website.

"I am obviously a little bit rusty, but I have ticked a box by completing 45 minutes and hopefully it will be onwards and upwards from there.

"I loved it. It was great to be playing football again, even though it was not the best conditions out there. I thought the boys did well and were unlucky to not to get a point out of it."

The midfielder is still reluctant to put an exact date on his return to first-team action, saying: "I will leave that for the manager to decide.

"I have obviously been out for quite a while so for me it is all about building up my fitness and getting that sharpness back.

"I am not sure whether the reserves will have any more games or have arranged any friendlies (before the Elite Group Stage starts in January) but I will be training more now so hopefully I can return as quickly as possible."