Nathan Collins says Armenian reality check can fuel the fire as Ireland seek redemption - bdsthanhhoavn.com

Nathan Collins says Armenian reality check can fuel the fire as Ireland seek redemption

There are obvious reasons why Nathan Collins will never forget his competitive debut for Ireland.

It is one of those landmark moments in a footballer’s career and, after a shaky start, he redeemed himself with an impressive display in Yerevan.

But there’s an obvious reason too why he may want to just park it and even erase it from his mind.

Because partaking in one of Irish football’s worst results is just no fun, even if the players believe it was a blip with scope to respond against Ukraine on Wednesday.

“I don’t know if it will affect confidence because we know what we can do,” said the centre back.

“It’s probably good for us as we’ve been on a high lately. It will add fuel to the fire and we need a reaction.

“There’s a game Wednesday, so we’re lucky as if it was over now we would be kicking ourselves. It’s a chance to redeem ourselves.”

The Irish squad left Yerevan within hours of the final whistle on Saturday, flying back to Dublin through the night on a charter with a brief refuel in Bratislava.

But as they waited to board at Yerevan’s Zvartnots International airport, they may have noticed the name of one of three snack bars in the departure lounge.

“Square One”.

The misfiring performance was concerning and felt like we were transported back to the early days of Kenny’s reign where one step forward, two steps back was the norm.



Nathan Collins of Ireland

Defeat in Armenia will only undo the good work of the second-half of last year if the team struggles at home to Ukraine and Scotland this week.

Then, Stephen Kenny will be feeling the heat having made a rod for his own back by declaring he wanted to win this group before the draw was even made.

Collins said: “”We started off slow, myself included, but I thought we grew into it as a collective and had a big end to the first half. I thought we were in control.

“We came out in the second half, started slowly again and never really got going.

“Obviously the heat plays a part but we had been there a few days, we had been training in it, we grew accustomed to it, nearly.

“Ah, I don’t want to use it as an excuse but I don’t think it should have affected us as much as it did.

“Overall it wasn’t good enough. Everything could have been better but on another day one of those goals goes in and we’re having a different conversation.”

It certainly wasn’t the start to this international window that Collins was hoping for as he was looking for a pick-me-up after Burnley’s relegation from the Premier League.



Dejected Ireland players, led by John Egan, applaud the Irish fans after defeat in Armenia

The Leixlip man, 21, made 18 starts for the Clarets, earning rave reviews and many admirers along the way.

He could yet make a swift return to the top flight with a number of clubs considering a summer move, with Newcastle and Leeds already linked.

“I had a week away and club football was on my mind constantly so I needed this (international camp),” he said.

“The lads have been good to me, they have helped me out and I needed to just play football, take my mind off club football and concentrate on this.

“We gave such a good fight and for relegation to happen in the last game of the season is not nice.

“It took a lot out of us and it is hard to take. But we know where we are and we need to bounce back as a club.”

Collins is reluctant to get into a conversation about his club future, insisting the Ukraine, Scotland and Ukraine – away – games are all that matter right now.

The Ireland squad watched Ukraine’s World Cup playoff final with Wales at the team hotel in Castleknock yesterday evening and are back on the training ground today.

And Collins is adamant Ireland can beat them at Aviva Stadium if they play like he knows they can.

“Yeah and I think you all know that as well,” he told reporters. “You have seen us play the likes of Portugal and Belgium and they’re of a high standard.

“We know, and everyone knows, that if we play our game we can go and beat anyone.”

Meanwhile, Collins claims the best goalkeeper in the world wouldn’t have saved Armenia’s winning goal in Yerevan.

And the defender is adamant that Armenia are capable of taking points off group rivals Ukraine and Scotland when they go there.

Eduard Spertsyan unleashed a sublime curling shot from distance after a lightning quick break into Irish territory.

Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher – who started because of Gavin Bazunu’s back injury – was at full stretch but couldn’t get fingers to it.

Asked what more could have been done to stop Spertsyan from unleashing, Collins said: “You could say put more pressure on him.

“But he’s 25 yards out and puts it off the post and in. At times you have to put your hand up and say, listen, it’s a fair effort. It’s one of them.

“They tried it a good few times. He put it in an area where I don’t think any keeper in the world is saving it. It is what it is.

“When it happens you put your hand up but I don’t think we gave them a lot else in the game so it is what it is.”

Collins continued: “It’s not easy. It’s a trek, it’s hot and it’s hard. They are a good team and they have shown that on Saturday.

“They fight and I think they will take a lot more points off other teams.

“It’s a different game if we took one of our chances in the first half. The whole game changes.

“There was a lot more than any one thing on Saturday but listen, there’s going to be a reaction and this group has a reaction in them.”

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