Stoke City midfielder Joe Allen has heaped praise on Irish defender Nathan Collins and has tipped the 18-year old to play a “big part” in the Potters push for promotion this season.
Collins broke into the first team under manager Nathan Jones towards the end of the last campaign appearing three times and impressing despite his tender age.
After reported interest from Manchester United in his signature, Stoke worked hard to tie him down to a long term deal, with the defender extending his stay at the Bet365 stadium.
The Ireland U19 international, who missed the recent European Championships due to his involvement with the Stoke first team, has also clearly been impressing his teammates with his work in pre-season.
Speaking in quotes reported by the Stoke Sentinel, the experienced Allen outlined that from the start of summer he has felt that Collins would play a big part in the upcoming season and noted that the he feels the 18-year old will be playing in the Premier League “one day.”
“From day one of pre-season,” the Welshman said, “I’ve thought he’s going to play a big part this year.
“He obviously had a couple of chances at the end of last season and took them with both hands. He’s impressed since he’s come back and he’s raring to go.
“He’s a good lad who wants to do well and, fingers crossed, I can be right with my premonition that he’s going to have a great season for this club and help us.
“There’s a lot of work to be put in and a long way for him to go, but I hope to see him in the Premier League one day. Hopefully with Stoke.
“He’s certainly got the tools for it. Technically and also in terms of his personality.”
Collins may also find himself the beneficiary of a shortage of fit centre-backs at the club with Ryan Shawcross expected to miss a long period of time after breaking his leg in pre-season.
Dutch defender Bruno Martins-Indi is expected to exit the Potters this summer which just leaves Danny Batth, Liam Lindsay and Collins as their options at the heart of the defence.
Stoke kick off their Championship campaign against QPR, a game in which Collins may find himself thrust into the starting XI.