Nathan Collins will be looking to start back to back league games for Stoke City this weekend. This would be the first time this season that the 19-year-old has been handed the opportunity to begin consecutive league games for the Potters, a stat likely to surprise many given the talent the young man possesses.
It came as a surprise to see Collins against Reading. Not so much as to him starting, but the fact that he played at right-back. Even in an unnatural position, Collins still came through the game, having put in yet another solid performance.
Stoke face Middlesbrough this weekend and Boro have just appointed manager Neil Warnock. A manager likely to play with a more direct approach, meaning this game could suit Collins to a tee. He would likely come up against Rudy Gestede, a player known for his aerial ability. Collins’ tall presence would match the one of Gestede’s, making it a tasty contest come Saturday. There certainly wouldn’t be any kind of mismatch when it comes to the size of the two players.
The Championship club are likely to be without captain Ryan Shawcross. This is after picking up another injury against Reading, after being forced off at half time with a groin problem. With a void being left at the back, Collins will undoubtedly be primed and ready if called upon. He is undoubtedly the man to fill the gap when it comes to playing a more direct and physical team, as Collins has the attributes in abundance to play against slightly more physical teams.
Should Collins get the nod from O’Neill, this would please many Stoke City fans. Many feel that he deserves to play more often, and is already better than the likes of James Chester and Liam Lindsay. If he can’t get much game time at the Potters, Collins could potentially want a move away to try and further his career.
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