Mickey Thomas condemns Wales injury withdrawals

James Collins challenges England's Darren Bent in his last game for Wales in March 2011
James Collins challenges England's Darren Bent in his last game for Wales in March 2011

Ex-Wales international Mickey Thomas has criticised West Ham United pair James Collins and Jack Collison for withdrawing from Wales squad duty.

Defender Collins reported a groin injury and Collison a knee problem ahead of Wednesday's friendly with Bosnia-Herzegovina in Llanelli.

"Two players withdrew again from the squad... Collins and Collison," Thomas told the Radio Wales Sport programme.

"They both drop out of the squad. Every time it's the same two players."

Wales manager Chris Coleman has called up Huddersfield's Joel Lynch and Cardiff's Robert Earnshaw to replace the Hammers pair as he prepares his side for 2014 World Cup qualifiers with Belgium and Serbia in September.

"It's unfair, because Chris Coleman, it's his first campaign, and he wants everyone available yet these two players yet again don't make the squad," Thomas added.

"If you don't want to play for Wales then why don't you just come out and be brave enough and say it, because Chris Coleman has to prepare his team for this massive campaign ahead."

The 23-year-old Collison has suffered a string of knee problems that began with an initial injury in 2009, which includes the midfielder being sidelined for 14 months after surgery and only returning to action at the end of the 2010/11 season.

Collins was not selected for the friendly against Mexico in May and was left out of the match-day 19 against Costa Rica in February despite having been named in the initial squad for the Gary Speed Memorial Match.

Before the Mexico game, Coleman had said: "James Collins has lost his place with Ashley Williams really being the mainstay and Darcy Blake has done well at international level.

"They haven't done anything wrong there. James has had a long hard season, he has had a few niggles.

"I know all about James. I'm not going to learn anything from James."

Collins had withdrawn from the friendly against Norway in November 2011 and was also injured for the Euro 2012 qualifiers with Switzerland and Bulgaria the previous month.

The 28-year-old was an unused substitute in the September 2011 defeat to England and suspended for the previous game against Montenegro.

The match before that had been a friendly against Australia in August and Collins was again an injury withdrawal before the 2-1 loss in Cardiff, while the previous Nations Cup tournament also saw the defender absent with a groin injury.

Collins, who has won 39 Wales caps, last played for his country in March 2011, when England won their Euro 2012 qualifier in Cardiff.

Thomas' fellow former Wales star Ian Walsh agreed that the withdrawals were likely to hamper Coleman's preparations.

"It's a great shame because James Collins especially he's a very good centre-half, he's had a great move back to West Ham," Walsh said.

"Collison of course at West Ham, we saw West Ham beat Cardiff City [in the Championship play-offs] and Collison scored two goals at Cardiff City Stadium.

"These players sometimes they do baffle everybody.

"It's going to be tough for Chris Coleman and the boys because it's a strange time to have a game, when there's been hardly any league matches and then all of a sudden you're going off to international duty."

Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and midfielder David Vaughan are also missing through injury for the Bosnia game at Parc y Scarlets.

Wales squad

Goalkeepers: Jason Brown (Aberdeen), Boaz Myhill (West Bromwich Albion), Owain Fon Williams (Tranmere Rovers).

Defenders: Darcy Blake (Cardiff City), Chris Gunter (Reading), Adam Matthews (Celtic), Sam Ricketts (Bolton Wanderers), Neil Taylor (Swansea City), Ashley Williams (Swansea City), Joel Lynch (Huddersfield Town).

Midfielders: Joe Allen (Liverpool), Andrew Crofts (Brighton & Hove Albion), David Edwards (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Joe Ledley (Celtic), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur).

Strikers: Craig Bellamy (Cardiff City), Simon Church (Reading), Steve Morison (Norwich City), Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading), Sam Vokes (Burnley), Rob Earnshaw (Cardiff City).