Nathan Collins' move to Wolves is 'a match made in heaven'

Nathan Collins’ move to Wolves is ‘a match made in heaven’

Keith Treacy and Conan Byrne believe Nathan Collins’ big money transfer to Wolves will prove ‘a match made in heaven’.

The Republic of Ireland defender recently left the relegated Burnley to return to the Premier League for an undisclosed fee in the region of £20.5million, which would make him the most expensive Irish transfer ever.

Speaking of RTE Football PodcastFormer Ireland, Blackburn and Burnley midfielder Treacy said the back three system used by both Wolves and Ireland would allow him to fit into his new club almost seamlessly.

“I think it’s going to be a really good move,” he said.

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Keith Treacy and Conan Byrne joined Raf Diallo and Rob Wright this week to speak to Irish players on the move, European fixtures for Shamrock Rovers, Sligo Rovers and St Pat’s and the knockout stages of the Women’s Euro 2022.

“The reason Wolves bought him is because he’s a good defender and if you look at Bruno Lage’s team they don’t concede a lot of goals.

“They don’t score a lot of goals, but they don’t concede very many goals and that’s the backbone of their success, so they’ll try to fit him into their back three very quickly.

“And the good thing for us, if we look at it from Irish eyes, they’re going to play a similar back three to Ireland, so you’d think it’s not going to be seamless, but if he gets in there, he’s going to be playing on those Irish way so he can get into the Irish squad from there which not many Irish players do.

Treacy added that it was “a match made in heaven” for player and club, an opinion echoed by ex-St Pat’s midfielder Byrne, and also predicted the 21-year-old has a good chance of going straight into the league at Molineux to enter the starting XI.

“Getting the number four shirt shows that they see him as a long-standing defender at Wolves,” Byrne said.

“He’ll be alongside experienced players like Conor Coady and Max Kilman which will only help him too, and two players ahead of him in Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho so they’re players he can pass the ball through to midfield, who will hold it and create chances for Wolves further up the field. So, like Keith said, I think it’s a match made in heaven.

In Wolves’ pre-season, Connor Ronan was given a chance, notably by manager Lage, after removing six loan spells from the club in the last 4-5 years, with last season going very well at St Mirren for a player who had a call-up to Stephen Kenny’s Ireland senior team that year.

Treacy expects the 24-year-old attacking midfielder to return on loan next season.

“I know he played a couple of games leading up to this season but I think he’ll be back on loan,” he said.

“This Wolves team has so much pedigree and they build their success on not conceding many goals. So when they get chances they really have to hit the net and I don’t think he trusts that completely in Bruno Lage’s eyes anymore.

Ronan has been part of Wolves’ preseason so far

“So I think there’s another season on loan, but not getting into a Wolves team isn’t the be-all and end-all. They are a very talented bunch and a tight squad too.”

Treacy and Byrne also spoke about Josh Cullen’s move from Anderlecht to Burnley and Aaron Connolly’s loan from Serie B to Venezia from Brighton.

They also touched on Jeff Hendrick, who was on a season’s loan from Reading in the Championship, and Treacy expressed his belief his own former Blackburn boss Paul Ince could give the Ireland midfielder a much-needed boost.

“I think Jeff will benefit from having Paul Ince around,” he said.

“Paul Ince gave me my Premier League debut all those years ago. I had Mark Hughes just ahead of him at Blackburn and Mark Hughes never really trusted me defensively. When Paul Ince got the job, he gave me my debut and took me to the deep end.

Ince returned to management with Reading in February, eight years after his last job at Blackpool

“It gave me a lot of confidence but he very seldom talked to me about what to do. It was more my attitude towards the game and possession. He very seldom tried to coach me in possession which is a great Made me feel like I knew what I was doing and that I was part of a Premier League setup.

“So I think he’s going to be quite similar to Jeff. I think he’ll add a bit more bite to Jeff’s game and probably tease him before games and let him know that this is a physical game.

“When Jeff plays for Ireland he’s asked to play good football and it’s not about coming around and trying to leave something behind for people.

“I think Paul Ince will like that side of him and he will like a little bit of hustle and physicality in the middle of the pitch.

“But we know Jeff has a pass too so I think Paul Ince will find a nice little medium there where he’s a player but also does the hard work.”

Treacy added that Ince will benefit from having a more suitable backroom staffer than the relatively inexperienced one he had around him at Blackburn in 2008 and that he is “forward” at Reading for a manager he has “many” of and upwards “could be time as a person”.

Watch Ludogorets v Shamrock Rovers in the Champions League second qualifying round on Tuesday live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, kick-off 18:45 CET. Follow the live blog on the RTÉ News app and on rte.ie/sport.

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