Euro 2016: Jack Collison back and hopes to play for Wales

Jack Collison (left) and Aron Gunnarsson
Jack Collison's (left) last appearance for Wales came in 2014's 3-1 win against Iceland

Wales midfielder Jack Collison is back playing after over a year out injured, and he still has hope of playing for his country as they aim to qualify for Euro 2016. In his latest BBC Wales Sport column, he also talks about:

  • Wales' crucial Euro 2016 qualifiers against Cyprus and Israel
  • How Wales can cope with the loss of Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen
  • The influence of manager Chris Coleman and how he has helped Collison

Unfinished business

It feels fantastic to be playing again but, with two huge qualifiers against Cyprus and Israel coming up, I must admit it is hard watching Wales games.

I had another 90 minutes for Peterborough on Tuesday in the League Cup, which was fantastic for me. It's the best I've felt over the past few games.

I can't see any reason why I can't get back to a level where, hopefully, I can make a mark on the international scene.

I feel there's a bit of unfinished business for me there, and I'm doing everything in my power to get back and knock on Wales manager Chris Coleman's door.

Jack Collison's career
Made 16 appearances for WalesJoined West Ham in 2007, and played 121 times
Jack Collison's last appearance for Wales came in 2014's 3-1 win against IcelandJoined Ipswich in September 2014 for four months
Played in Wigan's FA Cup semi-final loss to Arsenal in April, missing a penalty in the shootoutBack playing for Peterborough after more than a year out with knee injuries

Who knows? I might have to give Chris a call myself! I'll come and do a job if needs be.

Coleman support

Chris has been fantastic with me from day one. Even when I wasn't in the squad, he was respectful of the issues I had with my knee injuries and never pushed me too hard.

I'm very thankful for the way he's been with me. He's always been there on the other end of the phone, which has been great for me.

I've been doing some coaching with Peterborough recently and, as that's a long-term ambition of mine, I'll be sure to pick Chris's brains about management.

Jack Collison
Jack Collison has played five games for Peterborough since returning from injury in August 2015

But at the moment, my aim is to get back to playing regularly, playing well and proving that I am over my fitness worries.

Obviously it's been a long journey to get back to where I am now and I don't want to get too excited or too ahead of myself. But I don't see why in the near future I can't force my way back into the squad.

Strength in depth

This is a really exciting time for Welsh football, and the excitement is building after Coleman named his squad for the Euro 2016 qualifiers against Cyprus and Israel.

It's a strong squad. Joe Allen is going to be a big miss but I think Dave Edwards is more than capable of filling the hole. He's been in great form and scoring for Wolves.

It's good to see James Collins and Ben Davies back as well, so it's a strong squad that's capable of doing the business.

Joe Allen
Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen will miss Wales' matches against Cyprus and Israel with a hamstring injury

It's harder watching - often through your fingers - than it it is being out here in the starting XI and playing. But these are great times for Welsh football.

I've come through the Under-21s with a lot of the players who are now doing the business on the big stage with the senior squad.

History beckons

It's important Wales concentrate on the first game against Cyprus and, if they can win that, it would be great if they could qualify by beating Israel.

I'm hoping to be at Cardiff City Stadium for that second match and, hopefully, we'll all have reason to celebrate.

I don't think these players will be overawed by the expectations. I think we've seen the way Coleman has set his team out from game one - the sprit has been great to watch.

table

The belief the boys have played with has been exciting. It's been frustrating to watch at times as a fan but it's also been great. There have been some really superb performances, especially against Belgium.

Cyprus is obviously going to be a tough task, they'll still be hoping to qualify being on nine points themselves. So it'll be a tricky game but I'm sure everybody will be excited about and they can come back to Wales and a full house for the Israel game.

Jack Collison was talking to BBC Wales Sport.

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