Stoke thank FAI and insist Collins will get a chance
Championship side Stoke City have promised to give highly-rated Irish teenager Nathan Collins a chance in the first team after the FAI agreed to excuse him from international duty at the U19 European Championship finals this month.
The U19s play the first game at the finals in Armenia against France in just 13 days' time, but boss Tom Mohan will travel without some of his key players following requests that they be allowed to stay with their clubs for pre-season.
Celtic are almost certain to insist that their new signing, Luca Connell, avoids Armenia as the Bhoys are in Champions League action that week while Norwich (Adam Idah), West Ham (Conor Coventry), Manchester United (Lee O'Connor), Southampton (Michael Obafemi) and Tottenham (Troy Parrott) have said they don't want their players to travel.
Stoke are in the same boat and boss Nathan Jones has thanked the FAI for allowing Collins to spend pre-season with them.
"They were very understanding in terms of that. Nathan, we believe, is going to be a wonderful player - but to do that he has to be pushed now. One way or another he will be playing first team football this year," says Jones.
"We want him to because we need to accelerate his development because he's a wonderful young player.
"When he came into the first team he was unfazed by anything he faced so now he needs testing.
"We felt that the best way to do that was to keep him in our environment.
"Ireland have been very understanding and we thank them for that. We want him to really push on and if he did go away, his pre-season would be pretty much done. He'd be playing catch-up. We have high hopes for him."