Collins recalled as Coleman names 'injured' Allen in squad
WALES boss Chris Coleman is delighted to have Newport’s James Collins back in his squad, but admits he could do without ex-players stirring things up.
The former Fulham boss named Collins in his ranks for next Friday’s trip to Scotland and Croatia at home on Tuesday, March 26.
Coleman has also named Joe Allen in his squad despite Liverpool announcing that the midfielder needs imminent surgery on a shoulder injury.
However, Coleman didn’t hide his annoyance at comments made in the media this week by ex-internationals Robbie Savage and Chris Waddle.
On Collins, Coleman admitted he’d had no reservations in recalling him, despite Collins arguably costing Wales the game against Belgium when he was sent off for a rash challenge.
“He’s a Premier League defender with great experience,” Coleman said.
“We’ve not had him after being sent off against Belgium and he was injured for Austria so it’s nice to have him back.
“A week ago he was outstanding at Stoke (for club side West Ham) so good to have him. In our last game Sam Ricketts played with Ashley Williams and he was outstanding so James is coming back in good company.”
Coleman doesn’t expect an issue over the selection of former Swan Allen.
“Brendan Rodgers commented that at some stage he will have to have surgery but at no time have we been told he’s not available,” Coleman confirmed.
“If that was the case we wouldn’t pick Joe, I totally respect Brendan and Liverpool and I think we’ll always try to work with clubs because they aren’t our players and we’re only borrowing them. But we’ve not been told anything so at the minute he’s very much in the squad.”
Coleman wasn’t impressed with the input of Messrs Savage and Waddle, the latter questioning the prospects of Gareth Bale ever playing in a major tournament and Savage playing down the importance of the all-British clash.
“I can’t control what’s said outside our camp and I’m not too bothered what’s said.
“But I’ve said before, I’ve never been involved in a game for Wales where it didn’t matter (in regards to what Savage said).
“I was quite surprised by the comments that there’s nothing on it – there’s always something on it when you play for your country as simple as that, it is in my book.
“Belgium and Croatia are the strongest teams in the group and something major would have to happen to stop those two and us and the rest have got to on a great run. But in football anything is possible.
“But it’s never nothing on an international game. Against Austria it was a friendly but still something on it. Scotland v Wales Hampden Park? It’s a massive game, huge. We’re going there to get points and I will take our strongest side to do it.”
On Waddle’s comments Coleman added: “Gareth is passionate about playing for Wales. When he’s here he gives his best, he’s either scoring goals or making goals and obviously loves being here.
“You have people who will come out and say things, and it’s surprising someone who has played international football as Chris has done for England with such passion would question why Wales is any different. All right, we haven’t qualified since 1958 but we’re a small nation and it will always be hard. But does that mean we can’t be passionate about playing for our country, playing in every game and wanting to win every game.”
One man who has missed out is Celtic defender Adam Matthews, due to the hamstring injury he picked up in the Hoops’ Champions League exit at the hands of Juventus.
Coleman sympathises with the 21-year-old, who would have been desperate to feature in next Friday’s clash at Hampden Park, but has not ruled out having him available to meet Croatia in Swansea in the second game of the double-header.
“I thought Adam was outstanding against Austria and he really is developing into a fine young player, so it’s disappointing,” said Coleman.
“We know he’s definitely out of the first game but we don’t know about the second one yet, there’s a bit more time for him so it’s wait and see on that.
“He has an extra three or four days which with the injury could make a big difference. At the minute we have to think he’s unavailable. It would have been a great game for him in Scotland given he’s playing in Scotland with Celtic and he’s in tremendous form, so it’s a shame.”
l Newport teenager Lee Evans, signed for Wolves in January, is included in the full U-21 side for the first time.
Wales: Boaz Myhill, Lewis Price, Owain Fon Williams, Ben Davies, James Collins, Chris Gunter, Joel Lynch, Jazz Richards Sam Ricketts, Ashley Williams (captain), Joe Allen, Jack Collison, Andy King, Joe Ledley, Aaron Ramsey, David Vaughan, Jonathan Williams, Gareth Bale, Craig Bellamy, Simon Church, Steve Morison, Hal Robson-Kanu, Sam Vokes.