Summer signing Nathan Collins straining at the leash to get going at Burnley

Nathan Collins is straining at the leash to get going at Burnley.

Nathan Collins refuses to give Joelinton room to manoeuvre in the pre-season friendly between Burnley and Newcastle United at Turf Moor
Nathan Collins refuses to give Joelinton room to manoeuvre in the pre-season friendly between Burnley and Newcastle United at Turf Moor

The 20-year-old can feel the collar tightening in his spirited pursuit of a first competitive start for the club.

But the Irishman understands that his first Premier League appearance won't be handed to him on a plate, irrespective of his appetite.

Instead, the ex-Stoke City centre-back is prepared to decelerate and go at walking pace in his bid to become top dog at Turf Moor.

Nathan Collins

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"Obviously I want to get out there and I want to play in front of the fans, I want to get as many minutes as possible," he said.

"But there are two lads ahead of me right now in Ben Mee and [James] Tarkowski who are top lads and top players.

"I'm learning from them every day as well so it's just a matter of patience and waiting for my chance."

Collins appreciates that he'll have to bide his time in his bid to become a regular name on Sean Dyche's team-sheet.

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Nathan Collins of Stoke City and Jacob Sorensen of Norwich City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Stoke City and Norwich City at Bet365 Stadium on November 24, 2020 in Stoke on Trent, England.

The defender was made to play the waiting game during his breakthrough years with the Potters.

Ashley Williams, Ryan Shawcross, Bruno Martins Indi and Danny Batth were all viable options during the 2018-19 season.

And Scotsman Liam Lindsay alongside loanees James Chester and Cameron Carter-Vickers added to that competition for places under Michael O'Neill the following term.

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Collins was eventually given a run in the team last season, making 22 appearances in the Championship.

"I understand that because I went through it at Stoke as well," he said.

"You can see how good they are from what they've done last season and the seasons before.

"They're top lads and they're helping me on and off the pitch. They're always trying to get the best out of me and I'm really appreciative of that."

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Tarkowski's steady rise since his switch from Brentford in February 2016 hasn't gone unnoticed.

The England cap had to wait for his opportunity as Mee and Michael Keane cemented their partnership at the heart of the Clarets' rearguard.

He's now highly sought after, with a number of Burnley' s Premier League rivals credited with an interest as he enters the final year of his contract.

Collins said: "He's always showing his quality when I'm in training with him. He shows how good he is.

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"He bided his time, he got his chance and hopefully I get my chance.

"I don't mind having to be patient; once I'm improving every day in training and I'm getting better then I'll be ready for the Premier League."

Football is in the blood for the Collins family.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international's father, David, started out at Liverpool before moving on to Wigan Athletic [loan] and Oxford United.

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His uncle, Eamonn, also played professionally having been at Southampton and Portsmouth before enjoying a prolonged spell with Colchester United.

Collins' older brother, Josh, plays for University College Dublin. "It's been in me since I was about three or four," he said.

"My whole family's played, they've all had their history and I'm just carrying that on with the family name.

"I was always going to play football, there's no doubt about it. My whole family has, my little brother is eight and he's playing football every day.

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"It's bread and butter for us, it's what we were made to do and football has made us the people we are today.

"I'm getting texts from everyone; my brother, my mum, my dad, even my cousins and uncles. Everyone wants to be a part of it.

"We're a family, we all get on well with each other and I talk to them all day long.

"It's not just a big thing for me, it's a big thing for my family because they helped me out from the start as well."