Ex-Crystal Palace and Sheff Wed striker backs Aaron Collins bid to be Wales World Cup wildcard

Clinton Morrison, who made a World Cup squad for the Ireland has backed a Bristol Rovers’ striker to be in Qatar.

<p>Discussions are continuing on Aaron Collins’ World Cup hopes. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)</p>

Discussions are continuing on Aaron Collins’ World Cup hopes. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Clinton Morrison says that Bristol Rovers striker Aaron Collins is putting pressure on Rob Page to call him up to Wales’ World Cup squad.

The Red Dragons play their first match in four weeks time in Qatar against the United States. Page names his 26-man squad on November 9, which is in a fortnight.

Collins’ form for the Gas in League One has seen discussions over whether the 25-year-old should be considered for a call-up to the Welsh national team. The Newport-born striker has only represented Wales at Under-19 level and that came in a solitary appearance in 2019.

The Rovers striker has hit nine goals and six assists in 16 League One matches this season. He is only seven goals shy of his career best of 16 goals after helping the Gas to promotion from League Two.

A preliminary 55-man squad was submitted by the Football Association of Wales last week and 29 names will be eliminated from that list. It is unsure as of yet whether Collins was included on the list but his form has caught the attention of those outside the Rovers bubble.

“He will be knocking on the Welsh door for sure,” said the 43-year-old appearing as a pundit on Sky Sports before their match with Sheffield Wednesday. “He is definitely in that 55, he has scored nine goals and got six assists.”

“I would probably put him in that 26 as he would be a wild card and not many would know much about him. He will be putting pressure on Rob Page.

“What I like about him is I know he can score goals but it’s the assists as well. Centre forwards don’t like to assist, they just like to score goals. His all-round game is brilliant and he has gone to another level."

Morrison’s words of praise comes from a high place given the ex-Sheffield Wednesday striker has played regularly at international level.

Morrison had a career in the Premier League with Crystal Palace and Birmingham City. He also represented the Republic of Ireland at international level scoring nine goals in 36 appearances. Morrison was called up to Ireland’s 2002 World Cup squad but did not feature.

Another experienced Football League striker was also keen to add to the debate as to whether Collins should be in contention for the Welsh squad. Aaron McLean was prolific for Peterborough United inside three spells but has now turned to punditry after winding his career down.

Collins has two more matches; Derby County (A) and Rochdale (H) in the FA Cup to impress Page, following his showing at Hillsborough on Wednesday evening. Should he miss out on a call-up, he would be available for Rovers’ matches with the Posh and Bolton Wanderers, as well as a potential FA Cup second-round tie.

"What I really like about him is that he is comfortable on both sides," admitted the 39-year-old. f you show him on his left and he will go on his left. He’s as equally as good on his right.

"Strikers like that when you get in that mode, you’re better than anyone. Once you get in the groove and you’re scoring goals regularly you feel like you’re going to go out on the pitch and score. He’s doing that, he scored last season and he’s doing it again this season.

"It’s hard not to be on your mind," McLean added. He’s only 25 and he’s a young lad as well. He’s taken to it like a duck to water. For me I found stepping up from League Two to League One I found it almost easier.

"I felt more comfortable and you’re playing against better players. He will be looking at this and thinking if I can get high level figures then there is no reason why he shouldn’t be in contention."