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Dublin: 8°C Thursday 22 October 2020

Luton Town boss 'very surprised' by omission of Collins from Ireland squad

‘I think he’s good enough to at least get in the squad,’ Nathan Jones said of the 29-year-old striker.

Luton Town striker James Collins.
Luton Town striker James Collins.
Image: PA

LUTON TOWN MANAGER Nathan Jones has admitted he was surprised to learn that James Collins wasn’t included in the Republic of Ireland squad named earlier this week.

The Boys in Green are facing into a crucial European Championship play-off semi-final against Slovakia next Thursday, before taking on Wales and Finland in the Uefa Nations League.

Collins was also omitted when Stephen Kenny announced his first squad as Ireland boss for last month’s games against Bulgaria and Finland.

Since then, the 29-year-old striker registered a hat-trick in a Carabao Cup victory over Norwich City, before scoring the only goal of the game as Luton began their Championship campaign with a win at Barnsley.

Nevertheless, Kenny has kept faith with David McGoldrick, Adam Idah and Shane Long as his candidates for the central striker’s role. Aaron Connolly, Callum Robinson, Callum O’Dowda and James McClean will provide options out wide.

While expressing disappointment on behalf of Collins, Jones told Luton Today that he’s glad his attacking talisman will get an opportunity to recuperate during the international window.

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“I’m really sad for James. It’s Ireland’s choice, but it means that I get a player rested,” he said of Collins, who scored 14 times last season during what was his first campaign in the Championship.

“I’m very surprised because I think he’s good enough to at least get in the squad, but that is my opinion. Honestly, I’m reasonably happy. A bit surprised but happy, selfishly.”

Collins won four senior caps last year under Mick McCarthy, marking his debut with a goal after coming off the bench in a 3-1 win over Bulgaria in a friendly.

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Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Paul Dollery

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