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Time for Wales to deliver - Collins
Published : 01 Sep 2010 08:09:00
Wales defender James Collins claims the Euro 2012 qualifiers represent the time for the country's current crop to deliver. Manager John Toshack has blooded several youngsters in his national side in recent years and Collins feels they are now ready to come of age. Wales begin their latest attempt to qualify for the finals of a major tournament for the first time since 1958 as they face Montenegro in the Euro 2012 opener in Podgorica on Friday. Collins said: "If you look at the young players and the experience we have got now, we have got every chance. "It is an exciting group of young players to be involved with. "At the start of the last campaign the new boys were coming through but we can't use that as an excuse any more. We have got to start delivering. "You should enjoy playing football under that pressure. We need to deliver and it is about time we did something in a group. "Hopefully we can start off on Friday night." Tottenham left-back Gareth Bale is one of the leading lights of the young Welsh generation. Bale is just 21 but already has 24 caps to his name and his blistering form for Spurs has made him one of the hottest properties in the Barclays Premier League. Toshack has 11 other players aged 25 or under in his reduced 21-man squad for this week's trip while two other young Premier League stars, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Collison, are out injured. With top-level experience from the likes of Craig Bellamy, David Edwards, Sam Ricketts and Collins, Wales do have reason for optimism in a group that also includes England, Switzerland and Bulgaria. Collins said: "Gaz Bale is absolutely cooking at the moment at Tottenham. "With 'Bellers' you've always got that threat with his pace. "He is a world-class player and hopefully he can carry his form on. "It does look quite a tough group but the way we have been playing we feel we have got every chance." Wales' main problem is often that injuries to key players can leave the squad looking threadbare. Toshack has already seen Danny Gabbidon, Andrew Crofts, Brian Stock and Darcy Blake pull out after suffering injuries last weekend and it is a familiar story. "It is not good," Collins admitted. "I'm always in and out myself and it is not great for the manager. "He can't pick the same team for most trips. "But people get injured and you have to deal with it and it shouldn't be hard for anyone to play for your country. "It is frustrating we haven't qualified but we are going to have a right go this time. "It would be massive, the highlight of my career. To get to a tournament playing for Wales would be great."