Bellamy backs Jack

Jack Collison has made a big impact since being brought in to the side by Gianfranco Zola and has received some warm words of encouragement from his national captain.

That captain does, of course, happen to be West Ham United team-mate Craig Bellamy, but the 20-year-old midfielder seems to have done enough for both club and country to earn the praise of the forward. "Jack has been doing very well with West Ham of late," Bellamy said. "We benefitted from that with Wales. He has really stepped up in the last six weeks and he can still push on as well. He is a talented lad. To make predictions on players is very difficult. Fingers crossed, but Jack has the attitude to do well and attitude is the key."

Indeed, it seems that it is not just in the Barclays Premier League and international games that Collison is giving the West Ham United No10 reasons for optimism. "I've seen him every afternoon at West Ham and he does extra training. If you want to give this career a good go then you get the rewards and that seems to be how Jack is looking at it," said Bellamy.

"When you come in from the youth system you can play with no fear because the crowd are not going to get on your back. You are one of them. If Jack works hard and conducts himself in the right manner, which he does, then he will be fine."

Bellamy scored the winner as the duo, along with James Collins, helped Wales to an notable 1-0 over Denmark in Copenhagen on Wednesday night. It was all the more impressive as the team was mainly made up of players under the age of 21. "My goal was a bit scruffy but I needed it. Putting them away has been a bit of a problem recently so to get a goal, at international level too, is a big bonus for me."