West Ham defender James Collins returns to Wales squad

James Collins Wales


Cardiff City Stadium
Friday, 11 October
19:45 BST
Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and online; highlights on Match of the Day Wales on BBC Two Wales at 23:05 BST

James Collins has returned to the Wales squad after settling his differences with Wales manager Chris Coleman.

Coleman had accused the West Ham defender of rejecting the chance to join the Wales squad before their World Cup qualifier with Serbia in September.

Collins had denied that claim, but met Coleman on Wednesday and is now in training with Wales ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifier with Macedonia.

Liverpool winger Harry Wilson, 16, has also been called up to the squad.

A Football Association of Wales statement read: "Following face to face meetings this afternoon between Wales manager Chris Coleman and James Collins, the experienced West Ham defender has been called up into the Wales squad to face Macedonia and Belgium.

"Collins took part in a full training session at the Vale of Glamorgan training complex this afternoon."

Wales have 10 players out injured for the match with Macedonia in Cardiff and the trip to Belgium on 15 October.

Included in that lengthy injury list is captain Ashley Williams, plus fellow defenders Adam Matthews, Ben Davies, Danny Gabbidon and Sam Ricketts.

The return of Collins, 30, for the next two games adds some much-needed experience to Coleman's backline, as Wales attempt to avert finishing bottom of Group A.

Coleman has painfully few centre-half options and Chris Gunter - normally a full-back - and Owain Tudur Jones - a midfielder and last capped in May 2011 - had been tipped to start against Macedonia in the middle of defence.

But the return of Collins to the Wales fold should see the West Ham player win his 42nd cap for his country on Friday.

There was also encouraging news over Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey and Burnley striker Sam Vokes, who took part in "light" training on Wednesday but remain injury concerns.

Coleman has yet to agree a contract extension with the Football Association of Wales beyond the end of his current deal in November.

The Wales manager's hopes of finishing the campaign with a flourish, and adding to his three wins from 12 games in charge, have been further undermined with his midfield options shattered by injury.

The world's most expensive player, Gareth Bale, Liverpool's Joe Allen, Celtic's Joe Ledley and Brighton's Andrew Crofts - although he would have been suspended for the Macedonia game in Cardiff in any case - also withdrew injured.

Wales squad:

W Hennessey (Wolves), B Myhill (West Brom), O Fon Williams (Tranmere), C Gunter (Reading), N Taylor (Swansea), D Alfei (Swansea), J Wilson (Bristol City), R Wiggins (Charlton), A Richards (Huddersfield), D John (Cardiff), J Collins (West Ham Utd), A King (Leicester), A Ramsey (Arsenal), D Vaughan (Sunderland), L Isgrove (Southampton), O Tudur Jones (Hibernian), S MacDonald (Bournemouth), H Wilson (Liverpool), D Cotterill (Doncaster), C Bellamy (Cardiff), S Church (Charlton), H Robson-Kanu (Reading), S Vokes (Burnley), J Easter (Crystal Palace).

Wales Under-21 squad (against Lithuania on 11 October, 14:00 BST and San Marino on 15 October, 14:00 BST at the BookPeople Stadium, Bangor): Connor Roberts (Cheltenham Town), Danny Ward (Liverpool), Kieron Freeman (Derby County), Lee Evans (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Morgan Fox (Charlton Athletic), Elliott Hewitt (Ipswich Town) George Ray (Crewe Alexandra), Scott Tancock (Swansea City), Joe Walsh (Crawley Town), Billy Bodin (Torquay United), Bradley Reid (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Tom O'Sullivan (Cardiff City), Gwion Edwards (Swansea City; on-loan St Johnstone), Lee Lucas (Swansea City), Wes Burns (Bristol City), Ellis Harrison (Bristol Rovers), Josh Pritchard (Fulham; loan Tromso), Tom Lawrence (Manchester United).

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