Collison proves a Welsh wonder

Jack Collison made a dream start to his Wales Under-21 career with a goal as Brian Flynn's men won 4-0 against Bosnia-Herzegovina in their latest 2009 U19 European Championship qualifier.

The West Ham United midfielder has made startling progress since the summer, beginning with regular first-team action during pre-season before stepping up from the Academy to become reserve-team captain. The Football Association of Wales then discovered Collison had a Welsh grandfather and contacted the 19-year-old last month to ask him to follow club-mates Craig Bellamy, James Collins and Danny Gabbidon in representing the principality.

While his 90-minute run-out and late strike to round out the scoring in Wrexham on Saturday night was more than Collison could have hoped for - he has an even bigger challenge in store on Wednesday evening. France, always strong at U21 level, head to Cardiff's Ninian Park, with Flynn's men trailing Les Bluets and Romania by five points in qualifying Group 10. Wales have two games in hand though and have plenty of hope of securing one of 14 places on offer in next year's play-offs for the 2009 finals in Sweden.