Jack Collison has been ruled out of Wales' 2010 FIFA World Cup Group 4 qualifier in Azerbaijan on Saturday with a minor knee problem.

Wales manager John Toshack and the player himself had been hopeful he would shake off the knock he suffered during last Friday's international friendly victory over Estonia in Llanelli. However, Collison was withdrawn from the squad as a precaution on Tuesday afternoon and will not travel to Azerbaijan.

Collison confirmed to the club on Tuesday evening that his withdrawal was simply related to the knee knock and that it was best to rest for a few days rather than travel on a long flight to Baku. He added that he was still aiming to be involved when pre-season training begins in early July.

The 20-year-old had been eager to earn his sixth senior cap for his country in Baku, a city with historical links to West Ham United. Wales will take on the Azerbaijanis at the Tofik Bakhramov Stadium - a ground named in honour of the linesman who gave Geoff Hurst's famous second goal during the 1966 FIFA World Cup final at Wembley.

Bakhramov was born in the Azerbaijani capital in November 1926 and shot to fame when he flagged to award Hurst's 101st minute goal, which gave England a 3-2 lead against West Germany. The stadium was renamed in his honour following his death at the age of 68 in October 1993.

Collison learned of the link between the stadium and West Ham from goalkeeper Robert Green, who was part of Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad when England visited Baku for a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier in October 2004.

"I don't know much about Azerbaijan to be honest with you," said the 20-year-old, who has five caps. "I spoke to Greeny and he gave me a great fact. He said that outside their stadium they have a statue of the 'Russian linesman' who gave the goal for England so that was nice of him."

Wales' chances of reaching next summer's tournament in South Africa are remote, with John Toshack's side having picked up just six points from their opening six fixtures.

The Welsh sit fourth in the six-team group, six points behind second-placed Russia and ten adrift of leaders Germany. Azerbaijan are already out of the running, having gathered just one point from four matches so far.

Regardless of their current struggles, Collison believes that with promising young players such as Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey and Cardiff City's Joe Ledley coming through, good times could be just around the corner.

Wales came agonisingly close to reaching their first major finals since the senior side qualified for the FIFA World Cup in 1958 when their Under-21 side - containing Collison and Ramsey - pushed England all the way before going down to a 5-4 UEFA European Championship play-off defeat in October.

West Ham's Young Player of the Year, one of eight Academy graduates to represent the first-team in 2008/09, can see similarities between club and country.

"It's very similar to West Ham in that there are a lot of young, very talented players who are all coming through at a similar sort of time. International level is a great experience for all these young players and we'll look to gel as a team and, if we don't qualify this time, maybe we'll stand a really good chance of qualifying for the Euros [in Poland and Ukraine in 2012].