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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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Newcomer Collins 'definitely has the attributes' to make a difference for Ireland

The Luton Town striker has been backed to succeed at international level by club-mate Alan McCormack.

James Collins earns his first Ireland call-up as a result of his goalscoring form for Luton Town.
James Collins earns his first Ireland call-up as a result of his goalscoring form for Luton Town.
Image: Nigel French

DUBLINER ALAN McCORMACK was one of several Luton Town players who informed a thrilled James Collins of his first senior international call-up earlier today.

While Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy announced a 38-man provisional squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia later this month, Collins was still on the training ground preparing for his club’s meeting with Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.

“He didn’t know anything about it,” McCormack told The42. “We had done our normal Thursday session today. A few of us had finished early and he was still out with a few others doing some finishing.

“We had seen the news on the phone so we were waiting around for him to come in. A few of us shouted down to him as he was walking in. We were waving our arms and clapping, so the penny dropped with him then.”

Collins, who’s a former Ireland U21 international, has been rewarded for the 20 goals he has netted so far this season, which have helped Luton to open up a five-point gap at the summit of League One. The Coventry-born striker is currently the division’s leading goalscorer.

“We’re absolutely delighted for him,” McCormack added. “He’s a fabulous pro. He works his socks off, both on and off the pitch. Everything that he does, from his diet to his gym sessions, is incredible. He definitely deserves it because he has worked extremely hard for it.

“Hopefully he makes the full squad after the cut-off and he goes on to get a game. There’s a couple of us looking to go over and watch the game [against Georgia], so hopefully we’ll be there to support him if he gets his first cap.”

Luton Town v Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - Kenilworth Road Luton Town midfielder Alan McCormack. Source: EMPICS Sport

While McCormack acknowledges that it can be a sizeable leap from League One to senior international football, he believes his 28-year-old team-mate is capable of making the transition.

Collins, who began his career at Aston Villa, joined Luton from Crawley Town in the summer of 2017. He previously had spells at the likes of Shrewsbury Town, Swindon Town and Scottish Premiership club Hibernian.

He said: “His track record for scoring goals at various different levels is phenomenal. His all-round game is excellent. He can hold it up very well, he brings others into play and when he gets in the box he only needs half a chance.

“I think he definitely has the attributes to make the step-up. When he’s around even better players who can feed him in better positions, he may even get more goals. I’m delighted for him and hopefully he gets a chance.”

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Paul Dollery

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