West Ham youngster reveals Chelsea's Cole and Lampard as role models

Jack Collison hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow West Ham graduates Frank Lampard and Joe Cole by becoming one of "best in Europe".

Jack Collison hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow West Ham graduates Frank Lampard and Joe Cole by becoming one of "best in Europe".

Wales midfielder Collison has slowly grown in stature since making his first-team debut for the Hammers at Arsenal on New Year's Day 2008, and hopes to continue his rapid development.

The 21-year-old said: "Guys like Frank Lampard and Joe Cole are the reason I joined West Ham.

"The club has a great tradition of bringing through these young players, who have gone on to be some of the best in Europe."

Collison said: "We have to look up to them, and try to get to the level where they are at."

It has been a difficult year for Collison off the field, as his father was killed in a motorcycle accident while on his way to watch Jack play in August.

On hearing the news, Lampard sent the young player a message of support.

Collison was touched by the gesture.

He said: "Hopefully on Sunday, I will get an opportunity to speak to him properly and thank him - after we have beaten them!"

Collison continued: "Frank is someone I really look up to as a player, and gave me some support through what has been a really tough time to me.

"He is such a consistent player, and the amount of goals he both creates and scores from midfield is something I have to try to put into my game."