Ireland U19 defender Nathan Collins was handed the Stoke City captaincy for the first time in a league game as The Potters suffered defeat to Leeds in the Championship on Saturday.
At just 18 years of age, Collins became the youngest captain in the club’s history when he was handed the armband in the League Cup against Wigan two weeks ago and took on the role once again at the weekend after defender Danny Batth dropped out of the starting XI.
Collins put in a solid performance against the league leaders but the game proved to be a baptism of fire of sorts as Stoke were soundly beaten by 3-0 against an impressive Leeds side.
Stoke’s start to the season has been poor with just one point taken from a possible 15 and The Potters propping up the Championship table, but speaking after the game, in quotes reported by Stoke Sentinel, Collins was keen to stress that the heavy defeat won’t damage his growth as a player.
“No,” he said, “it’s not going to damage me at all. I’m a team player.
“I am here for the team. Whatever happens to the team, I’m a part of it.
“If we are a losing team, then I’m losing. I will always stick by the team and not let it affect me at all.”
The 18-year-old was recently included in Mick McCarthy’s 40-man provisional Irish squad ahead of the upcoming games against Switzerland and Bulgaria and despite his start to the season exceeding all expectations he could not hide his frustrations at Stoke’s results.
“It was very frustrating. We started very well, but one goal against us and the momentum changed.
“That happens in football, but you have to keep going and not let that bring us down.
“We looked solid, so that was a shame, but we can’t let if affect us.
“We came out second half and had one or two chances, but then they scored again and the game goes against us again.
“We can’t let that happen. We let it bring us down.
“This squad has a lot of ability, top quality players, but we weren’t that here, we know that.”
Collins also gave an honest assessment of the afternoon on a personal level outlining that despite it being “a massive honour” to captain the club, it means nothing given the fact that they lost once again.
“It’s a massive honour, but it means nothing with the result. The result is a massive dampener and that’s all I care about.
“Everyone knows they (Leeds) are a top team, but we have the ability to keep up with them.
“We just need to start putting results together to show we can and until we do people are going to doubt us.
“Everyone is frustrated. We are not even talking after the game we are so frustrated.
“We need to stay positive and one result can kick us on.”