Ireland U19 international Nathan Collins captained Stoke City to a 1-0 win over Wigan in the Carabao Cup last night, with the centre-back also grabbing the winning goal for the Potters.
Collins was handed the armband in just his fifth appearance for the Stoke first team and impressed in the victory as he was named the youngest captain in the club’s history.
The 18-year-old, who is very highly touted at the Potters, also scored his first goal for the club when he leapt above the defence at the back post to head the ball past Jamie Jones in the Wigan goal.
The young centre-back has earned plenty of plaudits in his brief senior career so far and recently penned a new contract at the club to wane off reported interest from the likes of Manchester United.
Following the game, Stoke manager Nathan Jones was full of praise for the 18-year-old, outlining that he believes Collins will go on to have a “wonderful career” and become the permanent captain of the club in the future.
“He is captain material, real captain material, and he will go on to be the captain of this football club.
“His temperament is top drawer, he doesn’t get fazed or carried away by anything and I really believe he is going to go on and enjoy a wonderful career.
“In fairness to the other lads, there were a number of them I could have given the armband to tonight because we have a number of leaders here.
“We have Adam Federici here who is experienced and vocal, Macca [James McClean] who is very experienced and leads by example, young Liam Lindsay, who is maybe quieter, but really plays with authority.”
Jones added: “There are so many of them who were candidates, but I gave it to Nathan because I trust him — he is a good kid and somebody I have enormous faith and belief in.”
Collins’ promising early displays are also a positive for Ireland manager Mick McCarthy who will no doubt have the young centre-back in his mind ahead of his upcoming squad selection for the games against Switzerland and Bulgaria.