West Ham defender James Collins has hit back at claims he refused to play for his country in the recent World Cup qualifiers.

Wales manager Chris Coleman had said Collins had turned down the opportunity to link up with the squad ahead of Tuesday night's 3-0 defeat against Serbia.

Having initially missed out on the original squad, Coleman claims he'd called on Collins after injury and suspension had ruled out Ashley Williams and Sam Ricketts.

Collins, who has 41 caps to his name, denies the claims and released a statement on Wednesday, which read: "I was not contacted by Chris Coleman or anyone at the FAW to request I join up with the squad. Had I been asked I would have gladly represented my country."

Coleman, who has been in charge of Wales since the tragic death of former boss Gary Speed, had questioned Collins' attitude, saying: "It has to mean everything to turn up to play for Wales - if it doesn't, then don't turn up.

"James explained to me that he didn't want to come into the squad after being on standby because psychologically he was disappointed. But that's not the attitude I'm looking for."

It was left to Swansea defender Ben Davies to fill the void in the centre of the Welsh defence, despite having never played in the role at professional level.

Collins admitted he had had contact with Coleman, but insists that at no point did he refuse to play. He said: "I did have a conversation with Chris to try to seek clarification on why I had been left out of the initial squad for both the Macedonia and the Serbia matches - but at no stage did I state that I would refuse to play for Wales.

"I am proud to come from Wales and even prouder to pull on the red shirt of my country so the suggestion that I would ever refuse to play for them is plainly wrong."

Tuesday's 3-0 defeat, coupled with a 2-1 defeat in Macedonia on Friday, left Wales bottom of their qualifying group meaning the 55 year wait to appear at a World Cup Finals continues.

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