Nathan Collins pictured as he receives the Senior Men’s International Player of the Year award. Ben Brady/INPHO

'We can beat France' - Collins issues rallying cry after difficult window

The 22-year-old defender also commented on recent speculation linking him with a move to Brentford.

IRELAND INTERNATIONAL Nathan Collins is staying positive despite a difficult international window in which the team suffered a potentially costly loss to Greece.

The defender feels the visitors were unlucky in Athens and says the Boys in Green have shown in the past that they are capable of pulling off big results, including against the World Cup runners-up.

“I think the Gibraltar game helped kickstart us,” he told reporters after picking up the Senior Men’s International Player of the Year award following a 12-month period in which he has firmly established himself as an integral part of the Irish backline.

“Greece at home, we know we can beat them, we can see that, what we did in that game, as much as we weren’t at our best, we still created chances, we still played football and on the day, they took their chances better than us. That was it.

“So at home, we’re confident in ourselves, we know we can play football, we know the style we can play, we know we can create chances. At the end of the day, it’s just creating chances, so we can take confidence in that.”

“Then obviously, France, Netherlands, they’re one-off games. You saw what we did with France at home. We frustrated the life out of them. And again, we created chances. So I think everyone has the belief that we can nick a result. Everyone has the belief we can beat France. So we’ll just have to see. We need to keep going. We need to prepare.”

As well as travelling to Paris, Ireland also face the Netherlands at home as part of a formidable upcoming international window in September.

The Dutch have got off to a difficult start that has included a 4-0 opening loss to Didier Deschamps’ men, but Collins insists Ronald Koeman’s side, who boast top-class players like Virgil van Dijk, Frenkie de Jong and Cody Gapko, will be a force to be reckoned with.

“They were still good [against France]. They still created chances. They had a lot of the ball. They had the majority of the ball. But France took their chances. I’ve no doubt they’re a really good team. Once it clicks for them, they’ll be unbelievable. But we have to disrupt them and make it awkward for them.

“Football’s one of the great sports. Everyone knows anything can happen. We’re Irish. Anything can happen if you’re Irish. We’ve pulled off some great results before so who’s to say we can’t do it again?”

Collins also played down his half-time substitution against Gibraltar on Monday, calling it “tactical” as he reflected on being voted Ireland’s Player of the Year by journalists.

“Stephen Kenny gave me this award in front of the lads and I said the main objective is getting to Germany. It’s all about getting to the next level.”

The 22-year-old Leixlip native will now take a well-deserved break after a long season.

Whether he is at Wolves next campaign, however, remains to be seen. He lost his place in the starting XI for Julen Lopetegui’s side in the second half of last season, and Brentford were recently linked with a big-money move for the talented starlet. However, the centre-back who became Ireland’s most expensive-ever player when he joined his current club last summer, was reluctant to comment too much as to whether he would be at Molineux next season.

“It’s not for me to say really. That’s football. Who knows what the club may do? I’m just going back on 10 July to play football.”

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel