“I was able to intervene and find that path,” Collins says, it’s not just about moving forward that creates opportunities.

During the first half with Ukraine, there was a moment when Nathan Collins broke the defense with the ball, passed the ball and continued to run forward until he reached the area normally occupied by number 10.

None of the visitors came to pick him up. They probably didn’t expect a young Irish defensive colossal to fly Loiter so far on the pitch.

Apparently, his plea for the ball was ignored, so none of Collins’ teammates.

And when the attack switched to the left, he returned towards his target.

Collins is not the first to show instinct and willingness to move forward in his fast-growing international career.

There was a moment against Armenia and Lithuania when he moved forward with a purpose.

Obviously, Collins has more than just visible.

He has a nonsense, rough and tumble midfielder height and physique.

However, the ball has some comfort, showing that his football brain isn’t just wired for tackles, blocks, and clearances.

Stephen Kenny said yesterday about Collins’ diversity: “I’ve seen Stoke’s centre-back, right centre-back, his flexibility in right-back.”

But can one day at the age of 21 add a defensive midfield to his CV, as Paul McGrath sometimes did when he pulled the green jersey?

Is Collins ultimately the one who will eventually play the role that was once assigned to Declan Rice (a midfielder that can be easily slotted in the center half) before switching countries?

Is this the answer to that particular dilemma when Kenny has a complete complement to the central half of choice, including Andrew Omobamidele from Leixlip, a fellow Collins?

Omobamidele, Dara O’Shea, Shane Duffy, John Egan, Darragh Lenihan, Jimmy Dan and many more.

Shamus Coleman can also be slotted to the right of the three central defenses.

And don’t forget the players who come at the level under 21 years old.

Mark McGuinness and Eylan Kashin both played a lot of football at the championship level in Cardiff City and Derby County last season.

No matter which position Collins takes for himself or whether he spends his career bouncing one after another, he isn’t disturbed.

In the game, there are moments when you see the ball move forward with it before you put it down. Take your eyes off him for a while, then he goes deeper into the opposite territory.

He scored two Premier League goals in 19 games against Everton and Southampton last season.

And it’s almost certain that he will be as big a goal threat as his international teammate Duffy.

Collins wants to contribute. Yesterday he talked about his desire to be as effective as the Irish defensive territory in half of the attacks.

Whether it gets them or makes them, he feels obliged to help in the last third.

He agreed with the observations made by Chidzy Ogben and Jason Knight after the defeats of Armenia and Ukraine, respectively. Ireland needed to move the ball faster in the attack.

But he added that the responsibility lies not solely with the attacking members on the Kenny side.

“Sometimes it’s easy to say that,” he said. “We have good control over the ball. When the team is against us, it is difficult to move the ball and break the team.

“Also, it’s probably missing in the last third. That final product is missing, but it can also come from the Defender. I step in and find that path or someone else. I was able to.

“But as a team, we all know what we’re missing. It’s just part of the final product and we need to find it.”

It’s been a disappointing week for Ireland so far. Suddenly, the hope of winning the group turned into a fear of being demoted to League C.

At the same time, Collins is praised for his performance in a slight defeat to Armenia and Ukraine.

“Personally, I think I’m okay,” he said, but added that he could still do better.

“I looked back at my game and looked at what I could improve, but I still have a lot to do.

“I did some work, but overall I’m admitting two goals in two games, so I might be able to help the team a little more and prevent them.

“If you didn’t admit two goals, you wouldn’t have lost two games. That could be the difference.

“As much as people are praising me, I still think I can do better and improve a lot, and I really like to win.”

Before the clash with Scotland tonight, Collins knows what’s at stake.

“I think every soccer match is a win. Without that spirit, I don’t know how to get into the game,” he said.

“Every game I play wants to win. It’s a win. When I enter in that spirit, I play my best football.

“As players, as a team, we all know it’s a win, but so are Armenia and Ukraine, so nothing really changes.

“We know there is work to do, and it goes out and wins a soccer match.”

Don’t be surprised if it’s the Burnley guy who has important moments at both ends of the pitch today.

Deliver the latest sports headlines directly to your inbox Sign up for free email alerts

!function(){return function e(t,n,r){function o(i,c){if(!n[i]){if(!t[i]){var u=”function”==typeof require&&require;if(!c&&u)return u(i,!0);if(a)return a(i,!0);var s=new Error(“Cannot find module ‘”+i+”‘”);throw s.code=”MODULE_NOT_FOUND”,s}var l=n[i]={exports:{}};t[i][0].call(l.exports,function(e){return o(t[i][1][e]||e)},l,l.exports,e,t,n,r)}return n[i].exports}for(var a=”function”==typeof require&&require,i=0;i<r.length;i++)o(r[i]);return o}}()({1:[function(e,t,n){"use strict";Object.defineProperty(n,"__esModule",{value:!0});var r=function(){function e(e){return[]}var t="DOMContentLoaded";function n(e,t,n,r){if(r=r||{},e.addEventListener(t,n),e.dataEvents){var o=e.dataEvents
//# “I was able to intervene and find that path,” Collins says, it’s not just about moving forward that creates opportunities.

Back to top button