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Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Neville Southall tips James Collins as Wales captain

James Collins
James Collins has won 37 caps since making his Wales debut in 2004

Former Wales goalkeeper Neville Southall has backed James Collins as the country's next captain.

He believes the Aston Villa defender has the edge over Aaron Ramsey and what it takes to follow in the footsteps of Craig Bellamy.

"Collins is a good leader and has a lively personality," said 93-times capped Southall.

"James is my choice as the new Wales captain. He is probably the most senior player at the highest level."

Southall favours him for the captaincy insisting 20-year-old Ramsey has enough on his plate as he returns from injury.

"Aaron has got to find his way back," added Southall.

"He doesn't need the burden of being captain as well as everything else. He needs to concentrate on what he does best."

Collins, 27, joined Cardiff City as a trainee in August 2000, after playing regional football for his home side Newport.

He made his debut for Cardiff in an FA Cup match against Bristol Rovers in November 2000, which Cardiff won 5-1, and went on to make 86 appearances for the Bluebirds, scoring six goals.

Collins, who was crowned Welsh Young Player of the Year in 2005, already has Wales captaincy experience, having led his country for their friendly with Sweden in Swansea in March 2010.

The former Wales under-21s captain signed a four-year contract with Aston Villa on 1 September 2009 and made his league debut for Villa on 13 September against Birmingham City.


There is a Wales skipper vacancy after Bellamy stood down from the role because he will be unable to play every game for Wales as he manages a long-standing knee injury.

Meanwhile, Southall says he remains sceptical about plans to resurrect the Home Nations tournament, describing it as a "non-starter".

Vauxhall, who have agreed multi-million pound sponsorship deals with all four nations, are believed to be pressing hard for the competition to resume after a 27-year absence.

"I don't think England will take it seriously at all, even though Scotland, Ireland and Wales will. But at the end of the day, if it is going to be internationals, you need all the best players to play," said 52-year-old Southall.

The former Everton player believes that to attract the crowds, the tournament organisers have got to get all of the teams to be totally committed.

"These tournaments used to have appeal but the game has moved on and everyone thinks the Champions League is the be all and end all of everything," Southall commented.

"You are not going to get Alex Ferguson wanting to release Wayne Rooney so somebody making their debut for Wales, Ireland or Scotland [can] kick lumps out of him - it's not going to happen really.

"Clubs now think the Champions League comes before anything else and the home internationals will be way down in their list of priorities.

"Yes Wales might beat England but it won't be the proper England, will it?"

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see also
Bellamy no longer Wales captain
06 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Collins honoured to captain Wales
02 Mar 10 |  Welsh

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