Gwent’s Jack Collison insists he’s not the new Ledley King
GWENT’S Jack Collison admits he’ll have knee problems for the remainder of his career, but he insists he’s not the new Ledley King.
Former Tottenham skipper King was one of the finest defenders of his generation but found himself unable to train or play more than once a week due to the poor condition of his knee, a problem that forced him to retire last summer at the age of 31.
Collison has also endured a plethora of knee issues throughout his career too with the latest one keeping him sidelined for the best part of eight months.
However, the West Ham midfielder, who made his first start for Wales under manager Chris Coleman, insists his problems aren’t as severe as ex-England man King’s.
“I’ve heard that before about my knee, I expected the comparisons to Ledley and I suppose to a certain extent it is true because I have to manage my knee, but I think loads of footballers are in that position, where you have to be very concerned about an injury.
“I have to box a little bit clever and be smart with the injury, but at the moment I feel as good as I have done in two or three years and that’s encouraging.”
Collison thoroughly enjoy-ed his run-out for Chris Coleman’s side in the 2-1 win over Austria and is now hoping to get the chance to contribute in competitive games.
“I think you could tell by the smile on my face what it meant to me, it’s great to be back with the team playing well and hopefully I can put myself in contention for a start in the qualifiers.”
Another player who enjoyed his long-awaited return to the international fold was Wales striker Craig Bellamy who featured for the first time under Coleman.
“I enjoyed myself, we’ve lost quite a lot of games and we’ve gone out and got a positive result and that’s a start for us,” he said.
“We could’ve seen it out better but a win is a win and I enjoyed it, it’s nice to build on a performance and I should have scored myself as well.”
Sam Vokes, who scored the decisive goal after replacing Bellamy at the interval, feels he has done all he can to push himself further into Coleman’s thoughts for a starting berth. Thus far the boss has used Leeds striker Steve Morison in preference.
“It was nice to come on and get the goal and hopefully it gives the gaffer something to think about,” he said.
“I feel like this has been a big season for me and hopefully I can prove myself for my country.”
Vokes admits his task as a striker is a lot easier with Bellamy and Gareth Bale flanking him.
“They are two amazing players, for a striker it’s absolutely fantastic, you know you’ll get service and they’ve both got terrific pace and crossing ability.”
Skipper Ashley Williams felt the victory over Austria was another sign that the new dawn under Coleman is beginning to take full effect.
“I think we played well for long periods of the game, we’ve earned the win and that’s the whole purpose of the friendlies really, to build our confidence,” he said.
“Craig Bellamy has come back, Jack Collison, there are plenty of positives for sure.
“I also enjoyed (for the first time) playing alongside (Bolton’s) Sam Ricketts.
“He played really well and I enjoyed playing with him, he likes the role and I thought he did it really well.
“It was a good team performance, everyone did their bit and that’s pleasing.”