O'Neill blasts officials over red card shown to Irish U21 international Collins

‘The Barnsley player has thrown himself to the ground and held his face,’ said the Stoke City manager.

stoke-city-v-barnsley-sky-bet-championship-bet365-stadium Nathan Collins leaves the pitch as Stoke City team-mate John Obi Mikel appeals to referee Michael Salisbury. PA PA

STOKE CITY MANAGER Michael O’Neill has expressed his anger at the decision to send off Nathan Collins in his side’s Championship fixture against Barnsley last night.

Collins was shown a red card after an hour of the 2-2 draw at the Bet365 Stadium, having been accused of elbowing Dominik Frieser while the pair were chasing a long ball.

With the Republic of Ireland U21 defender subsequently facing the prospect of a three-match suspension, Stoke are to consider appealing his dismissal.

“It’s not a red card. That type of contact happens hundreds of times in a game,” O’Neill said after a result that leaves his side in 10th place.

“Nathan has blocked the run of the Barnsley player, which is what you would expect your centre-back to do, and the Barnsley player has thrown himself to the ground and held his face.

“The official on this side has given it. The referee, to be fair to him, is only acting on the information that the assistant has given him and it was clearly the wrong information.”

nathan-collins Collins playing for the Ireland U21s against Italy last week. Matteo Ciambelli / INPHO Matteo Ciambelli / INPHO / INPHO

Collins, who was making his second consecutive start, has now played 25 first-team games for Stoke since making his debut in April 2019.

The 19-year-old from Leixlip won his third cap for the Ireland U21s in last week’s 2-0 defeat to Italy in the European Championship qualifiers.

“I couldn’t understand how quickly it became a red card in that situation,” O’Neill added. “Knowing Nathan and his character as I do, why would he elbow a player in the face on the halfway line? There’s no rationale behind it.

“It was just a really, really poor decision. I thought the assistant had a poor game actually.”

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