Dutch master leaves impression on Collison

PUBLISHED: 11:21 05 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:20 05 October 2010

WEST Ham teenager Jack Collison has vowed to learn his lesson after receiving a footballing masterclass from Real Madrid star Wesley Sneijder last weekend. Collison won his second international cap as a second-half substitute in Wales s friendly defeat by

WEST Ham teenager Jack Collison has vowed to learn his lesson after receiving a footballing masterclass from Real Madrid star Wesley Sneijder last weekend.

Collison won his second international cap as a second-half substitute in Wales's friendly defeat by the Netherlands on Sunday and the 19-year-old admits it was a chastening experience.

The Dutch cruised to victory in their final warm-up game ahead of Euro 2008 as goals from Sneijder and Madrid team-mate Arjen Robben secured a 2-0 win in Rotterdam.

Collison was thrust into a defensive midfield role when he replaced Carl Robinson at half-time in the De Kuip stadium, and bravely battled to protect the Welsh back four and keep playmaker Sneijder in check.

The Hammers youngster struggled with his assignment as the former Ajax schemer pulled the strings in a vintage Dutch performance.

But Collison is confident the toughest examination of his young career will help him develop into a better player in the future.

"To play against someone like that can only help me progress," he said.

"He was playing in the hole and I was playing in a defensive midfield role. I was just trying to get in and around him but he is such a clever player.

"[Wales manager John Toshack] told me after about half an hour that I was going on and made me watch in the first half to see what position he was playing.

"I probably learned as much in that 45 minutes playing up against him as I have all season."

Collison's call-up by Toshack has capped a meteoric rise over the last 12 months.

The midfielder was promoted to Alan Curbishley's first-team squad for pre-season training last summer before being appointed captain of the Hammers reserves.

His promising form for Kevin Keen's second-string side earned Collison the first of five Wales Under-21 caps last year and he made his first team debut away to Arsenal on New Year's Day.

The teenager's first Premier League start came at Bolton Wanderers in April and his breakthrough season finished on a high with the elevation to the full Wales team this week.

Yet Collison is not satisfied with his progress and admits he is already focused on topping those achievements by becoming a first-team regular at Upton Park nest season.

He said: "Obviously making the breakthrough was the hard part but the work begins now and I hope to play a bigger part for West Ham next season.

"Looking back I didn't expect to make my full debut but it's what I've been working hard for all season.

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