Stoke City boss Nathan Jones has revealed that he had no concerns about handing the captain’s armband to 18-year-old Nathan Collins for his side’s first round Carabao Cup clash with Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night.
Collins, who was making just his fifth senior appearance for the Potters, became the club’s youngest ever captain in the process, and it was a night to remember for the Irishman, who also headed the only goal of the game to register his first senior strike and secure a place in the second round of the competition for Nathan Jones’ side.
Speaking about the decision to award Collins the captaincy after the game, Jones told the club’s official website: “It’s a good night for us and it is a good night for Nathan.
“He is captain material, real captain material, and he will go on to be the captain of this Football Club.”
Despite the decision to hand the armband to Collins, Jones did admit that he had plenty of other options for the role at the DW Stadium, adding: “In fairness to the other lads, there were a number of them I could have given the armband to tonight because we have a number of leaders here.”
Explaining his reasons for giving the responsibility to Collins, however, the Stoke boss concluded: “There are so many of them who were candidates, but I gave it to Nathan because I trust him – he is a good kid, and somebody I have enormous faith and belief in.”
Stoke’s reward for their win over Wigan is a trip to Elland Road to face Leeds United, with the club returning to league action when they host Derby County on Saturday.
I think this was a good move by Jones.
With this being a cup game rather than a league one, it will have to reduce the pressure on Collins slightly, and it is a move that has paid off anyway.
As well as securing Stoke’s passage to the second round of the competition, this is an experience that will serve the defender well when he is called on to fulfil this sort of role on a more regular basis later in his career.
Given the success this brought about here, you can’t see there being too much hesitation on the part of Jones should it come to deciding whether or not to hand the armband to Collins again in the future.