Nathan Collins impresses for Ireland against France despite 1-0 defeat
Republic of Ireland v France: Group B - UEFA EURO 2024 Qualifying Round
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Nathan Collins impresses for Ireland against France despite 1-0 defeat

Wolves star Nathan Collins gave a really good account of himself last night, as the Republic of Ireland lost 1-0 to France.

Stephen Kenny’s side came up just short against Les Bleus, who had goalkeeper Mike Maignan to thank for picking up all three points in the end.

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France got their goal through a brilliant second-half strike from Benjamin Pavard.

But Ireland almost equalised right at the death, with Collins forcing an absolutely amazing save from AC Milan stopper Maignan.

The centre-back felt for sure that he had scored with a header, only for Maignan to produce an incredible flying save.

Speaking after the game, Collins said of the moment: “I thought I’d done everything. I got as high as I could, I got power behind it, but it’s an unbelievable save.

“I’ve watched it back and it’s even worse than I thought, it’s unbelievable.”

Collins was so unlucky not to have scored. But he can be very proud of his performance.

It hasn’t been an easy time for him in 2023, having lost his starting berth at Wolves to Craig Dawson.

But this international break has been good for him.

He impressed against Latvia last week. And he followed that up with a really good display against some of the best players in the world.

The French media were even impressed.

GFFN usually only focus on the French players when they play. But in their player ratings they picked out Collins for praise.

Giving him a 6/10, they said of him: “The Wolves defender did nothing wrong tonight and produced a great defensive display, in his anticipation as well as his positioning, to smother the threat posed by Mbappé and Giroud.”

Only three players on the France team got a higher rating (Maignan, Pavard and Dayot Upamecano, all 7).

A good couple of showings for Nathan Collins after tough time with Wolves

It is great to see Collins performing well for his country.

It is something he needed, having lost his place to Dawson for Wolves.

Collins is a centre-back with tremendous potential. He has been a bit unfortunate back at Wolves, but Julen Lopetegui’s thought process has been understandable.

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There needed to be a player with experience and authority and Dawson is that player.

Max Kilman wasn’t going to lose his place as the balance is right having him on the left.

Collins just needs to have patience. His moment will come again for Wolves.

There is always a chance that Lopetegui could even start going with a back three at the start of games.