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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 21 August, 2019
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Collins tipped for 'wonderful career' after becoming Stoke City's youngest captain

Another big step forward for the 18-year-old Irish defender.

Stoke City's Nathan Collins.
Stoke City's Nathan Collins.
Image: EMPICS Sport

NATHAN JONES PAID tribute to Nathan Collins last night after the Irish youngster deputised as skipper in Stoke City’s victory away to Wigan Athletic in the Carabao Cup.

In just his fifth appearance for the Potters’ first-team, Collins became his club’s youngest-ever captain in their 1-0 win at the DW Stadium.

It represented another big step forward for the centre-back from Leixlip, who was still a few weeks shy of his 18th birthday when Jones handed him his senior debut back in April.

“It’s a good night for us and it is a good night for Nathan,” the Stoke City manager told the club’s official website last night. “He is captain material, real captain material, and he will go on to be the captain of this football club.

“His temperament is top drawer, he doesn’t get fazed or carried away by anything and I really believe he is going to go on and enjoy a wonderful career.

“In fairness to the other lads, there were a number of them I could have given the armband to tonight because we have a number of leaders here.

“We have Adam Federici here who is experienced and vocal, Macca [James McClean] who is very experienced and leads by example, young Liam Lindsay, who is maybe quieter, but really plays with authority.”

Jones added: “There are so many of them who were candidates, but I gave it to Nathan because I trust him — he is a good kid and somebody I have enormous faith and belief in.”

Initially it appeared that Collins had marked the occasion by scoring the game’s only goal, but the Ireland U19 international clarified the situation afterwards.

“[Sam] Vokes is claiming it but I got my clean sheet so that’s all that matters,” he told the Stoke Sentinel. “I’ll let him have the goal. I think it was his, to be honest. I didn’t touch it.”

Collins, who was reportedly the subject of interest from Manchester United during the summer, was handed a new five-year contract by Stoke City last month.

Last week, Ireland senior manager Mick McCarthy admitted that the young defender is on his radar: “Nathan took his first-team chance with Stoke at the end of last season and he is building on that now. He’s a big centre-back who is comfortable on the ball and he is making real progress. That’s great to see.”

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Paul Dollery

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