Collins and Gabbidon: Czech mates for Wales

Danny Gabbidon and James Collins renewed their defensive partnership in impressive fashion on Saturday as Wales earned a creditable point against the Czech Republic in the latest round of Euro 2008 qualifying matches.

The Hammers duo played together in a competitive match for the first time since January, and were back to their best as the highly-rated Czechs failed to break the deadlock in a closely-fought 0-0 stalemate at the Millennium Stadium.

Gabbidon showed that he has fully recovered from the troublesome groin injuries that ruled him out for most of the last campaign, while Collins continued his superb end-of-season form with a number of timely blocks and interceptions in front of goal.

Elsewhere, two more heroes from our successful relegation battle were also on international duty this weekend. Lucas Neill captained Australia in a 2-1 friendly defeat against Uruguay in Sydney, while Carlos Tevez was on target for Argentina as they drew 1-1 with Switzerland in a warm-up match before the Copa America finals this summer.

Meanwhile, newly-appointed Northern Ireland coach Nigel Worthington has opened the door for Hammers defender George McCartney to make a return to international football in the near future.

McCartney has not played for his country since June 2005 following a fall-out with previous coach Lawrie Sanchez, but could now be in line to add to his tally of 19 full caps after Worthington offered a fresh start.

"I don't know the full scenario although I think George had his differences with Lawrie," said the former Norwich City boss. "I know George was coming into the squad when I was at the tail end of my international career, he's a very, very good player and I don't think Northern Ireland is in a position to close the door to too many Premiership players.

"I will let George have a summer breather but I will be speaking to him in the coming weeks. We'll have a chat to see what his thoughts are and I think the biggest thing is the players want to turn up and play for their country.

"They will fly all over the world to play for the team. Any player that wants to do that and show passion and pride will be welcome in the squad.

"I'll have a chat with George and I hope he will want to play for his country again."