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Wolves signing Nathan Collins already settled in after whirlwind summer

Nathan Collins’ journey to becoming a Wolves player became reality after a whirlwind 24 hours.

Nathan Collins (Getty)
Nathan Collins (Getty)

The club had been interested in him earlier in the window but not made their move, but once the news broke that an agreement was close on Monday, July 11, he was a Wolves player the following morning and was already on the plane for the pre-season camp in Spain.

“My agent called me at six in the morning and said ‘get yourself down to Wolverhampton, you have a medical’,” Collins said. “I was half asleep and didn’t know where I was, and straight away I was on my way.

“He said ‘just be prepared, you might travel to Spain’. I had the smallest bag ever packed and next thing I knew I was on a flight with the lads.”

The 21-year-old was thrown into the deep end and by Wednesday morning was training with his new team-mates at the club’s camp near Benidorm.

A slightly shaky start against Alaves saw him eventually settle before an impressive display against Besiktas proved why Wolves splashed out £20.5million on him.

He added: “I didn’t have much time at Burnley. I only had two days’ training and then I came here and was full on from the start, which I enjoyed.

“I feel good now for it. Coming into the group was easy. I was happy that the deal got done before they came here. It made it easier for me to settle in with the lads full on.

“I feel settled here, it’s a good group and I’m looking forward to getting going now.”

Wolves players celebrate during a pre-season training session (Getty)

But why Wolves?

Collins has been extremely highly rated by pundits and is seen as a bargain signing for Wolves by those that have watched him play at Stoke and Burnley.

Although his Premier League season is limited to just last year, at just £20.5million a top six club may have fancied their chances – so why arrive at Molineux?

When asked that very same question, Collins said: “The interest. They wanted me. But I’ve played against them multiple times, I’ve seen the style of play, I’ve seen the players that are here and I’ve seen the ambitions.

“I think it’s a good step for my career and I think they wanted me from the start.

“They’ve been interested for a while and I feel wanted. So I thought it would be a good match.”

At Wolves, Collins becomes the latest Republic of Ireland player to pull on the old gold shirt.

The club has a historic link with players from the Emerald Isle that stretches back decades – from recent 10-year servant Matt Doherty to exciting striker Robbie Keane.

Collins says that history, as well as his conversations with other former Wolves players, played a part in him signing with Wolves.

“I’ve played with Docs for Ireland and Stephen Ward for Stoke, and I’ve played with guys like Sam Vokes and Danny Batth, and they all have such good things to say about the club,” he said. “That’s also played a big part, what people are saying about it, and the influence it had on their careers.”

Nathan Collins (Getty)

Looking back at his roots and Collins believed he was destined to play football from the very beginning.

As a child he did try other sports, including kickboxing, Gaelic football, hurling, golf and tennis

But his family ties and desire to play the beautiful game meant he always came back to what he knew.

“Football has always been a part of my life,” he said. “I have played football since I was three or four. I have been competitive with my older brother, who is four years older than me, and ever since I was a kid I’ve been trying to beat him at everything.

“I played with Cherry Orchard until I was 15 and that’s a family club – my dad played for them, my uncle played for them, my cousins played for them – so to be a part of that was a really nice thing. That moulded me a lot, because it was a place without big egos. There was none.

“I was playing on a park where there was drunk people watching me and shouting at me. I was a nine-year-old playing football, but it’s made me the person I am today.

“I always knew as a kid that I wanted to play football, that’s why I will give it 100 percent every time. It’s got me this far so I’ll keep doing it.

“I wouldn’t say I had a footballing icon. I think because my family had such a footballing background, they had a big say in my career. My dad had a big say, still to this day I talk to him every night about football. My uncle is my agent and he has a big say, I always talk to him. Then I had an older brother and cousin who also played the game.

“They were the people I always looked up to and still to this day I talk to them about what I can improve on, what I’ve done well.”

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