Jack Collison is looking to "really push on next season" with West Ham United and Wales and show he has what it takes to build a successful playing career.
After appearing twice for Alan Curbishley last season and also getting two full caps for Wales, the 19-year-old midfielder has been left wanting more. He said: "Those little sniffs have just made me even hungrier for next season. I am going to go back in pre-season and do my best and fight for my place. I want to get as close as I can to the team and start playing more regularly. That is the aim. I am just going to do everything I can between now and the start of the season to come back in shape."
The reserve-team captain has not had too much time off as he closed out the last campaign with a first taste of top-level international football. He played in a 2-0 friendly defeat by the Netherlands just before Euro 2008. That defeat saw Craig Bellamy also feature with a second-half run-out and Collison believes the duo will soon be complemented for club and country by James Collins and Danny Gabbidon as they look to return from knee and abdominal injuries respectively.
"It would be great to play at a World Cup," said Collison when asked about the prospect of getting to the South Africa finals in 2010. "Hopefully Ginge and Gabbs will be back, while Bellars looks like he is fully recovered now. I think he just needs games. It will be nice for all four of us to be involved and hopefully we can qualify for the World Cup. That is the aim. We feel we have got a decent enough squad to get there or thereabouts so we just need to see how the games go really."
Wales will have it all to do though as they have been drawn in European qualifying Group 4 - alongside Euro 2008 revelations Germany and Russia. The rest of the section is rounded out by Finland, Azerbaijan and Liechtenstein - all teams that Wales can feel confident against. John Toshack's men will get going on 6 September away to the Azeris in Baku before a trip to Russia four days later. It remains to be seen whether Collison will be involved or with the Under-21s for a match in Romania that could decide involvement in October's play-offs for the 2009 U21 Euros.