Speed plays down Collins reports

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Football News

Wales manager Gary Speed insists James Collins still has an international future despite the defender's withdrawal from the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Switzerland and Bulgaria.

Collins missed last month's 2-1 win over Montenegro due to suspension, and it cost him his place as Darcy Blake was selected for the following game against England. Collins was named in Speed's party for this final qualifying double-header but he withdrew due to a foot problem, although he played 90 minutes for Aston Villa on Saturday.

That had led to speculation that Collins was considering his international future, but Speed said: "I spoke to James, he had an injection in his foot before the game on Saturday and maybe he should not have played but James being James he did. He is struggling and has to let that settle down."

He added: "Darcy has done really well and James was disappointed he did not start against England and I am glad he was disappointed. I would have been disappointed, there was no-one more disappointed than me when I didn't play, but James understands that and he is fine.

"I had to play Darcy against England after the way he played against Montenegro and Australia.

"But James is a big part of our future and is playing well for a club at the top level. So we need him and, as I say, he is a big part of our future."

Blake is again set to partner Ashley Williams in the heart of the Dragons defence with QPR's Danny Gabbidon also on a lengthy injury list that includes Robert Earnshaw, Danny Collins, Joe Ledley, Andy King and Jack Collison.

David Vaughan and Craig Bellamy are available again after missing out against England through suspension, although the Sunderland midfielder is struggling with a bout of tonsilitis.

Ledley's absence means that Swansea midfielder Joe Allen is set for his first international start, with Wolves' Dave Edwards set for a bench spot after recently returning from a lengthy injury absence.

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David Vaughan
Ashley Williams
Gary Speed
Danny Collins
Joe Allen
Ashley Williams
Craig Bellamy
Premier League
Robert Earnshaw
Andy King
Darcy Blake
Joe Ledley
Queens Park Rangers
Jack Collison
James Collins
Aston Villa
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Swansea City

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