James Collins believes it is time for Wales' golden generation of youngsters to prove they can hack it at international level.

The centre-back, a £5million signing by Aston Villa from West Ham last week, knows that at 26 he is an old hand now in the Wales squad. And he accepts that he must now start being a role model for the clutch of youngsters who are forcing their way into the Wales squad.

This blend of youth and experience will confront Russia tomorrow in a World Cup group four qualifying group in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. If Wales lose against one of the world's greatest football powers, they will know that their mathematical chance of reaching next summer's finals in South Africa is over.

However, Collins believes much preparation for the future can be achieved in the next few months as Wales campaign comes to a halt. He said: "We really can't qualify now, but we have to look ahead to the next qualifying campaign (UEFA EURO 2012) and make sure that we all gain as much experience as we can in these final three group matches.

The youngsters have to start taking responsibility and turning promise
into victories. If we want to qualify, we have to start getting the
wins.

James Collins

"In particular the young players who have come into the squad. Every time they pull on a Wales shirt it helps with their experience. But we have got to a stage where we all have to start delivering. We have heard a lot about the promise of the youngsters and the potential of this squad, but it is about time we started to produce results against the big countries.

"We all have to step up to the plate and start performing, we have to face these games believing we can win. There is some fantastic talent in the squad, some really big stars in the making. So the quicker we can start performing for Wales as a team the better. The youngsters have to start taking responsibility and turning promise into victories. If we want to qualify, we have to start getting the wins. It is all right playing well, we have to start turning that into winning performances."

Wales have been hit by another retirement from international football, with Wigan's Jason Koumas the latest to end his Wales career. Collins said: "It is disappointing to lose anyone of his quality, he has made his own decision but it is a shame considering he is only 29 and he has many years left in his career.

"It is his decision, but we have lost several senior players this way recently and that is disappointing for us all. It is not something I have considered. I still feel I have a lot to offer my country and maybe one day I could even be captain. I enjoy this and watching the youngsters improving, you have got me for a while yet.

"I'm only 26, but now I am one of the most experienced players in the squad. I'd like to think that the young players can look up to me,I still feel I have a lot to offer. I have missed too many games, I have had a serious knee injury, but that is behind me and I aim to play a lot more games now. They are not so young any more, they have to start producing. But there are a lot of senior men around who will not be over impressed with their performances of late, so we all know we can do better."