Neill Collins described scoring the winning goal during last night’s Capital One Cup tie at Morecambe as a very “emotional” moment after emerging from the darkest period of his football career.
The Sheffield United defender, who was banished from the squad by Nigel Adkins’ predcessor Nigel Clough, celebrated wildly in front of the travelling supporters following his 90th minute header at the Globe Arena.
Collins, making only his second competitive appearance for the club since October, insisted he had yet to receive a “logical answer” for his absence under the former England international but told The Star: “It’s been a long 10 months and, it’s not always been easy. My family have been brillant with me.
“It’s actually very emotional and they know what I’ve been through. They’ve got to take the credit. They know what I can be like and they’ve put up with a lot.”
Collins, recalled following Adkins’ appointment in June, continued: “I sat at home plenty of Saturday afternoons asking myself the same thing (Why I wasn’t playing). There’s no logical answer. All you want is to be treated as a professional.
“In a sense, it’s difficult to draw a line under it because there’s no logical explanation. Perhaps questions should have been asked more at the time. But that’s what I’ve got to do because I want to look forward and move forward now.
“I wouldn’t say the manager (Adkins) has given me a clean slate because that implies there was something wrong with me in the first place. But everyone knows how much I want to play for this club . I had plenty of opportunities to leave but I didn’t want to because it means too much.
Collins added: “The fans, throughout all that time, were sending me letters. They were encouraging me and supporting me all the way through.
“The same goes for a lot of other people behind the scenes, including staff and former players, whose opinions I trust. People know how much I want to play for this club and I’m sure we’re going to be successful.”