Collison expects much from Dutch

Jack Collison will be an interested observer when the Netherlands take on Denmark on Monday lunchtime - having fond memories of a personal duel with Wesley Sneijder.

The Wales midfielder went up against the Internazionale star when the imperious Dutch beat Wales in a friendly encounter a couple of years ago and has continued to watch his progress. "Wesley Sneijder is outstanding. I came up against him in my first game for Wales, he is a top-class player. The Dutch team will do well."

Cambridge-born Collison said he would also be willing England to go all the way. "I have been really looking forward to the World Cup - it is a fantastic tournament. It is great to see some of the lads out there.

"I will be following and supporting England and hoping they do well, so it is good to have Matty and Greeny out there. England have a really good chance. Then there is Specs and Valon [Behrami] out there with their teams, so hopefully they will have a good tournament.

"There are lots of players to look out for, ones you know but also players that many people don't get to see on a regular basis and will be able to enjoy watching them play."

Collison said his World Cup viewing will help take his mind off his painstaking bid to recover from a knee operation. He cannot wait to show new manager Avram Grant what he is capable of, although it will be a good few months before he is out on the traiing pitch.

"Obviously when I come back, I am looking to impress our new manager. Football moves on and you go on - we have a new manager. I am looking forward as I am sure all the lads are, in getting to play for the new manager and impressing on him what we can do.

"We all start from a clean slate - I am looking forward to working with him. He has worked with some top players at Chelsea and at Portsmouth, so it is a new time starting at the club and I definitely want to be part of it."

Collison is also relishing one day running out in front of the fans again, with memories still lingering of the reception he got when facing Millwall last August just after his father passed away.

"The fans were magnificent all season to all the team - for me as well, personally, they were fantastic. Obviously I had a difficult time off the field as well and the response I got from our fans for that was just brilliant.

"As I said at the time it all happened, the match against Millwall, and the reaction from the crowd to me, was something I will never ever forget and again, I want to repay them for that by playing my best for West Ham and helping us getting good results.

"Although I managed to get a few goals last season and play some part, in the end the injury prevented me from playing towards the end of the season. It was frustrating for everybody.

"It is going to be a long summer what with recovering from the injury and I will be working hard, but it is good to have the World Cup to watch in between my sessions! The weather hopefully will also be nice and that always makes you feel better. I am looking forward now to getting back to fitness and being able to play my part for the team in what will hopefully be a bigger and better season for us."