Collins' captaincy pride

Defender delighted with armband honour

Collins: Proud

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James Collins admits captaining Wales for the first time will be the highlight of his career.

Aston Villa defender Collins has been handed the captain's armband for the World Cup clash with Liechtenstein because of Craig Bellamy's suspension.

Collins is hoping he can help Wales bounce back from last weekend's defeat to Finland with a victory over Group Four basement boys Liechtenstein.

"Obviously I am delighted to be captain. It's a big honour and the highlight of my career," beamed Collins.


"But there's a bit of senior leadership needed now, after what happened in Finland. Not that I can claim to have been above criticism.

"It was a bad day for me as well as the team. But now we want to finish off this group strongly and look forward to the next qualifying campaign.

"It is a big game for us, we need a win. We have got to feel under pressure now because everyone was bitterly disappointed with the way we played and the result.

"We must put things right that were not good on Saturday when we lost in Helsinki."

Collins concedes defeat to Liechtenstein is unthinkable and he believes the current squad is making progress despite their tender years.

"Losing here is unthinkable. If we lose we would expect to be flying home to some flak," admitted Collins.

"We must come to places like this and win if you ever want to be achieving anything in qualifying groups.

"Our best performances have been when we have played really well in away games against the big teams, even if we did not win them. But then we find ourselves not performing against lesser teams.

"We have to put that right, to start producing results. But I still believe we have been making progress. We have very young, inexperienced lads around now and they can only learn from playing international football at such a young age.

"We need experience to take into the Euro qualifiers next year. But I do maintain that the quality of these youngsters is exciting and there will come a point when they all progress, and step up to a different level together.

"Then they will start producing. For now, we aim to put things right here against Liechtenstein."