Coleman shields duo from criticism

PA Sport
Chris Coleman has leapt to the defence of Jack Collison and James Collins
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Chris Coleman has leapt to the defence of Jack Collison and James Collins

Wales boss Chris Coleman has defended Jack Collison and James Collins after the West Ham pair withdrew from the squad to face Bosnia-Herzegovina in Llanelli on Wednesday night.

Midfielder Collison (knee) and defender Collins (groin), a recent signing from Aston Villa, on Sunday both fell out of the reckoning for the Parc-y-Scarlets clash, with Joel Lynch and Robert Earnshaw called up as their replacements.

The pair have come in for criticism from former Wales international Mickey Thomas, but Coleman sprang to their defence when questioned on their absence. He said: "I have seen Mickey's comments, he is paid to give his opinion but I don't agree."

Collison, 23, has been dogged by knee problems in recent seasons while Collins, 28, has not played for his country since the Euro 2012 qualifying defeat against England in March 2011.

Coleman added: "Jack Collison has had a serious knee problem, not for six months or 12 months, but for two or three years.

"He has got through games when maybe he shouldn't have because he wants to play, and he has even come away with Wales when maybe he shouldn't have.

"But we know Jack very well, he has a lot of desire for football, he loves to come and play for Wales and we love having him play for Wales, but physically he cannot do it."

Coleman went on to say: "James Collins, we think, has a hernia problem which may need surgery, he can't play. He limped off in a friendly in Portugal for West Ham so he can't play.

"They are two players who will always be in my thoughts and be there or thereabouts when I am naming my squad."

Wednesday's fixture is the final chance for Coleman to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers which begin against Belgium in Cardiff next month.

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