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Chris Coleman selected for Wales

last updated Friday 03rd May 2002, 6:32 PM
Fulham defender Chris Coleman, whose top-flight career was almost ended by a horror car crash, has finally been recalled to the Wales squad.

The Fulham defender, who has missed all of the season through injury, has played just five reserve games in his comeback but it is enough for Wales boss Mark Hughes to recall the 31 year-old for the Millennium Stadium friendly with Germany on May 14.

Coleman has not played for his country since the away game in Warsaw against Poland in October 2000 when he starred in a 0-0 draw against the country that finally won the World Cup qualifying group and will be playing in the finals in South Korea and Japan next month.

  Fulham Captain Chris Coleman  
  Fulham defender Chris Coleman, whose top-flight career was almost ended by a horror car crash, has been recalled to the Wales squad.
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Swansea-born Coleman was then almost killed in a shocking car crash the following January when he suffered severe injuries, the worst being a shattered right leg.

There were immediate fears that he would never play again, and it has been a long road back for Coleman who has had eight operations on the leg.

He missed the run-in to Fulham's First Division championship season and was still on crutches when he received their trophy at the end of last season, and he has missed all of their Premiership campaign.

Coleman, a hugely popular and influential figure in the Wales squad and nicknamed 'Cookie', finally made his playing comeback in Fulham's reserves a few weeks ago, way ahead of schedule.

Now, with Cardiff's young defender Danny Gabbidon pulling out of the Wales squad with an injury of his own, Hughes has decided to give Coleman's season a further lift with an international comeback.

It is unlikely that he will play in the Germany game, but it is a clear signal from Hughes that he wants the big defender back in action and ready for next season's European Championship qualifiers, which start in Finland in September.

Coleman, who actually broke both legs when he crashed his Jaguar into a tree, was overjoyed with news of his recall.

He said: "I couldn't believe it to be honest when Mark rang me up and told me he wanted me to be in Cardiff with the rest of the squad.

"I have always said that, along with playing again in the Premiership, my biggest dream was to get back into the Wales squad, and now it's happened.

"Mark rang me a couple of weeks ago to see how I was and say he was considering bringing me into the squad if I felt up to it.

"That was a nice boost for me after what has happened, but I never dreamt really that I would be back involved so soon.

"Now I've been given the opportunity and I'm absolutely delighted to be back with the lads after all this time."

And he added: "The leg is OK, it's not 100% and it probably never will be, but it's just a matter of getting it into a good functional state and at the moment we are winning!

"It's a big squad that Mark has assembled so I know may not even be in the 16 for the game, but I know now that I am on the fringe of things and it will just be great to be involved and back with the lads and enjoying the atmosphere.

"Frankly it's just seeing my name on a team sheet that is brilliant at the moment, and for it to possibly be on a Welsh one is extra special to me. It's given me a tremendous boost."
Source PA Sport by Paul Walker
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