Cotterill handed second chance by Toshack

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The Independent Online

The teenage striker David Cotterill has been given the chance to salvage his Wales future by his manager, John Toshack, who has been forced to overlook the captain, Craig Bellamy, for the final two Euro 2008 qualifiers against the Republic of Ireland and Germany later this month.

Cotterill fell out with Toshack earlier in the season when his attitude was questioned and was consigned to the Under-21s under their manager, Brian Flynn. But it is believed Cotterill has recently held talks with Toshack and asked for advice on his club career as well as his international future.

Cotterill, a £2m signing by Wigan 18 months ago, has not been able to force his way into the Premier League side. But now Toshack has given the former Bristol City youngster the opportunity to restake his claim for a place when he named his senior squad today in Cardiff.

Toshack said: "Brian Flynn has been pleased with Cotterill in their last three matches – for one of which he was captain – and he is now back with us, for the first week at least."

Wales play the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff on 17 November and then Germany in Frankfurt on 21 November. And after slamming the attitude, lifestyles and pampered existence of many of his senior men during the last fractious international fortnight, Toshack has decided not to make any changes, despite suggestions that some could be dropped.

As well as Cotterill, Toshack has also given opportunities to another clutch of youngsters with Swansea's injury-jinxed Owain Tudor Jones, and his fellow midfielders Nottingham Forest's Arron Davies and Luton's David Edwards all getting a chance. They could find themselves back in the Under-21s after the match against the Republic.

Toshack said: "Depend-ing how things go, [the younger lads] will not go to Germany but may join the Under-21s for a game against France in Cardiff on the following Tuesday."

Flynn's side play Bosnia at Wrexham in a Uefa Under-21 Championship qualifier on 17 November, and then have a tough game against France at Ninian Park on 20 November. West Ham's 19-year-old reserve team captain, Jack Collison, born in Watford but with a grandfather from the Rhondda, has been selected for the Under-21s for the first time. Such is Wales' need for young players with Premier League experience that the midfielder could soon be with Toshack's seniors despite not yet being included in West Ham first-team squad.

The loss of Collison's club-mate Bellamy is not unexpected. He is likely to be out for a month with a recurrence of a groin problem and the Hammers have told Wales he has no chance of playing in the next two internationals.

Toshack said: "He had surgery on it before the games in Cyprus and San Marino last month but now it has obviously taken its toll. So on medical advice we have had to leave him out.

"Given his performance in Slovakia in September, which was possibly his best for his country, it's amazing to think he needed surgery.

"But he came back very quickly after the operation and was involved with us last time around. And on his return he played and scored for West Ham in their next game against Sunderland, but it was then clear to them he was in some discomfort at Portsmouth and was taken off at half-time.

"This time it was felt he was going to need the best part of a month to recover and we have to accept that, unfortunate though it is."

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