West Ham United defender James Collins says he wants to keep a starting place with the Hammers to make him a candidate for Wales at Euro 2016.
He has been limited to just five league appearances after injuries and suspensions to the likes of Winston Reid, James Tomkins and Angelo Ogbonna who all ahead of him in the pecking order
However, with Reid out for a few weeks Collins is eager to impress Irons boss Slaven Bilic and Wales chief Chris Coleman.
Collins said: “It’s a massive thing for me to go to the Euros. The only way I going to get into the Wales team is to keep playing regularly at West Ham. If I can stay in the team then my club form is going to be massive going into the tournament.
“We’ve got a tremendous squad at Wales. Years ago you’d half expect to play even if you weren’t playing regularly at club level but it’s the best Wales squad I’ve ever been involved in which has resulted in us qualifying in the first place. I’ve just got to concentrate on playing week in week out for West Ham.
“Qualifying for the Euros with Wales is probably the biggest achievement of my career seeing as this was the first time Wales had qualified for a major tournament in about 50 years. I just want to be part of it.”
After being part of a backline that kept a clean sheet against Stoke City last week, the Newport-born defender will keep his place on his return to the principality to play Swansea City at the Liberty stadium on Sunday (December 20).
Collins says he is keen to rekindle his rivalry with the Swans, built from his time with the Cardiff City between 2000 and 2005 – although he does feel the sacking of manager Garry Monk was “harsh”.
Collins, 32, said: “Growing up as a Cardiff fan I didn’t want Swansea to do too well. All of my pals are Cardiff fans so to get one over on them would be nice.
“I’m quite close with Ashley Williams [Swansea City captain] so I’ve spoken to him recently. There’s a bit of turmoil at Swansea but the rivalry between me and Ash has started already. The results weren’t going quite right and the Swansea players will be up for any game.”