Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: I Must Focus on the Cats - Collins

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: I Must Focus on the Cats - Collins

Article excerpt

Byline: By Stuart Rayner

DANNY Collins is resigned to being left to concentrate on his club career as long as John Toshack is manager of Wales.

The 26-year-old was training with Sunderland on Tuesday rather than preparing for his country's friendly against Liechtenstein, something he puts down to a "grudge" against him.

Collins joined the long list of Welshman to have their international careers effectively ended after a fall-out with former Real Madrid boss Toshack when he pulled out of a summer training camp in 2005 because he was moving house. He accepts the two are never likely to make up.

"It's got nothing to do with the way I was playing," Collins said of his international exile. "It's just between me and John Toshack.

"We had a few words after one game and that has knocked it on the head.

Whether I'm playing week in, week out here won't really make a difference."

Toshack's appointment in November 2004 and his abrasive style early in his second spell as national team manager coincided with a raft of retirements from Robbie Savage, Gary Speed, Andy Melville, Mark Pembridge, Mark Crossley, Nathan Blake and Andy Johnson. Manchester City full-back Ben Thatcher is another who looks unlikely to figure in a Toshack team again.

"I saw Robbie Savage on TV the other weekend talking about his situation, and there's Ben Thatcher as well, and a few others," said Collins. "He (Toshack) looks like he's the sort of person who is holding grudges.

"I'm disappointed. I'm 26 and I want to get a few more caps in my career. I have four caps and I should have more."

The main beneficiary of Collins' pariah status is club-mate Lewin Nyatanga.

The pair play alongside one another for Sunderland but at international level the teenager on loan from Derby County fills the berth on the left side of a back three former Chester City defender Collins would expect to occupy.

Rather than be jealous, Collins has been impressed by the 19-year-old's impact on Wearside. "I have got no grudge against Lewin," he said. "He has slotted in quite well at left-back for us. …

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