Player Profile - Nathan Collins - the young Irish Irish defender who is wanted by Premier League clubs

Player Profile - Nathan Collins - the young Irish Irish defender who is wanted by Premier League clubs

A CAPTAIN, a leader, and a young man in very high demand.

Some lads are destined to be footballers. Nathan Collins, simply put, is one of them.

Like his father and uncle before him, he started his footballing journey at Cherry Orchard, one of Dublin's oldest and finest clubs.

You don't last long at the club if you're not made of tougher stuff than your average young lad, and it shows when he steps on to the pitch now for Stoke.

He became Stoke's youngest ever captain in a match against Leeds last season, but he is a leader even when he doesn't wear the armband.

He can be heard all around the pitch, with an Irish accent that that is recognisable in seconds, and he makes sure that there is nobody in his way if he's going up for a header.

He towers over most players on the pitch, and frighteningly, at just 2o, is probably not done growing physically yet. But somewhat surprisingly for someone who is 6'4, he is assured with the ball at his feet too.

Collins on occasion shows some inexperience, including a very frustrating red card suffered when representing Ireland, but more often than not he is a vision of composure.

While there were links between Collins and Arsenal, Burnley have wanted him for quite a while, which makes perfect sense. Sean Dyche is a defensive manager who likes to play two, big, commanding center halves, and Collins fits the bill perfectly.

And as good as he has been with Stoke, his Irish performances have caught the eye too.

He was part of the underage team who were infamously robbed in a penalty shootout against Holland back in 2018, and as captain of the side, he spoke incredibly after the game.

When all of Ireland was going mad (and rightfully so), he acted wise beyond his years, and said: "I didn’t know what to do, I didn't know what to think. When he saved it I was buzzing but then, you know, it's the ref's decision, wasn't it?

"I'm sure their keeper may have come off the line as well but it's his decision, isn't it, and there's nothing we can do about it.

"It's just our luck on the day, wasn't it? There's nothing we can dwell on now, we just move on from it."

With the calm head that he seems to have, mixed with the undeniable ability - Collins will end up in the Premier League eventually. It's only a matter of time.