Jack Collison has become the fourth full Welsh international at West Ham United after winning his first cap in the 1-0 win away to Iceland on Wednesday night as Craig Bellamy made a long-awaited return.
Collison, still only 19, was named in John Toshack's starting lineup to complete a memorable campaign for club and country. First, he played a full part in Alan Curbishley's pre-season plans last summer before being appointed captain of Kevin Keen's reserves. After promising form, he earned the first of five Wales Under-21 caps and then made his first team debut away to Arsenal on New Year's Day. He got his first start at Bolton Wanderers in April before his latest step forward.
Collison, who joins club-mates Danny Gabbidon, James Collins and Bellamy as members of the Wales senior set-up, turned in a lively 60-minute display including some decent efforts on goal before being replaced by fellow Under-21 prospect Owen Tudor Jones. By then, Toshack's team were winning thanks to a sublime backheeled goal from Ched Evans just before half-time. Evans had entered the fray just three minutes before as a replacement for former West Ham United midfielder Carl Fletcher, who was captaining the team in Reykjavik.
Usual Wales skipper Bellamy, meanwhile, made his long-awaited playing return for the first time since getting 22 minutes as a substitute away to Wigan Athletic on 2 February. Bellamy is returning to fitness after an abdominal injury and played for the last 28 minutes against Iceland. His appearance, which included some good late runs that tormented the home defence, has fuelled hope that both he and Collison will figure in Sunday's high-profile friendly away to Euro 2008 hopefuls the Netherlands in Rotterdam.