Ireland boss McCarthy has faith in Luton striker Collins

Ireland boss Mick McCarthy during his time as Ipswich manager
Ireland boss Mick McCarthy during his time as Ipswich manager

Ireland boss Mick McCarthy has put his faith in Luton striker James Collins as he prepares for his second stint as Republic of Ireland manager.

Collins is among five strikers included for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia.

The 28-year-old, who won 12 Republic of Ireland U21 caps between 2009 and 2012, has scored 20 goals in 42 games for the Hatters this season.

McCarthy has backed him to make the step up to international football as he said: “He is an experienced centre forward.

“I know not at the level that we are talking about, but he is a powerful lad.

“He can hold the ball up and he can score goals. He has scored everywhere he has been.

“He is a centre forward whose movement is good, he can occupy defenders and I have been impressed with him. It will be a step up, but we will see if he can make that step up when he joins us in training.

“Who knows? When players get opportunities they can play above their level.”

Hatters’ team-mate Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu is hopeful that Collins gets the chance to showcase his predatory instinct on the international stage, adding: “He’s a great pro, a lot of League One players don’t really get international call-ups, so I’m buzzing for Collo.

“Hopefully he comes on and scores, so all the best and now someone else has to step up in the striking role (against Doncaster) and hopefully get some goals for us.”