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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 20:40 GMT 21:40 UK
Hartson must earn Wales comeback
West Brom striker John Hartson
John Hartson must prove he belongs back in the Wales squad
Wales manager John Toshack says the door is open for John Hartson to win a return to international football.

The West Brom striker, 31, announced his international retirement in February, but a summer move from Celtic saw Hartson reconsider his decision.

But Toshack says that first Hartson must prove he is worthy of a place.

"Between this game and the next two I'll probably go and have a look at him and have a chat with him and we'll take it from there," Toshack said.

"It's 10 months now since John last played for Wales, we've played four matches and John has moved club and had a change of heart.

"I've spoken with John and we're both comfortable with the situation.

"I also understand he's got an ankle injury which could take two weeks to clear, although my decision wasn't based on that."

Jason Koumas may even extend his contract at West Brom

Wales boss John Toshack

Wales begin their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign on 2 September with a trip to play the Czech Republic in Teplice.

Craig Bellamy, Ryan Giggs and Rob Earnshaw are the three frontline strikers in the Wales squad, with several promising candidates in the Under-21s.

But Hartson, who scored 14 goals from his 51 caps, would offer Toshack great experience and a different option in attack.

Hartson's West Brom team-mate Jason Koumas has also been omitted from the Wales squad named on Wednesday.

Koumas, 26, has not played this season and boycotted West Brom's pre-season, with an unsuccessful bid from Cardiff hanging over him.

But clear-the-air talks with Baggies manager Bryan Robson means Koumas has returned to the Hawthorns and signed a new three-year contract.

"He's hoping to get involved training again the latter part of this week and then we'll have to take it from there," Toshack said.

"By his own admission we couldn't consider him for this particular game after three months without any training or match practice.

"But he's at a good age and should have a number of years left in the top flight and hopefully he'll be able to sort himself out."

After the Czechs, Wales' next Euro 2008 games are at the Millennium Stadium against Slovakia on 7 October and Cyprus four days later.

The other teams in Group D are the Republic of Ireland, Germany and San Marino.

Wales will also play a friendly against Brazil at Tottenham's White Hart Lane on 5 September.

SEE ALSO
Hartson ready for Wales comeback
15 Aug 06 |  Internationals
Koumas signs new Baggies contract
23 Aug 06 |  West Bromwich Albion
Wales get tough Euro 2008 start
09 Feb 06 |  Internationals
Euro 2008 qualifying draw
27 Jan 06 |  Internationals


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