Luton striker would love to earn an Ireland call-up

Ireland assistant coach Robbie Keane watches on at Kenilworth Road
Ireland assistant coach Robbie Keane watches on at Kenilworth Road

Town striker James Collins would relish the chance to lead the line for the Republic of Ireland if he gets a call-up.

The 28-year-old, who has represented his country at U19 and U21 level, scored his 19th of the season on Saturday under the watchful eye of Ireland assistant coach Robbie Keane.

Collins, who qualifies through his mother, is now the leading Irish scorer in all four divisions, said: “I’d love an international call-up, it would be a massive thing for me personally and my family, but I’m focused on doing well for Luton Town at the minute.

“If I can keep producing what I’m doing then who knows what might happen?”

The forward scored a hat-trick for the U21s as they beat Liechtenstein in the European U21 Championships held in Israel during 2013.

He always wanted to break into the senior set-up though, saying “Definitely, it’s always been an ambition of mine.

“I knew that Ireland have had some great strikers over the years and I’ve always looked from afar.

“At the minute it might seem like reality, but I’m not going to get too caught up in it.

“It’s out of my hands and if it comes, it comes, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”

Luton interim boss Mick Harford, himself with two England caps to his name, was impressed with the manner in which Collins took his goal from Jack Stacey’s cross against Wycombe at the weekend.

He said: “He makes good runs, he made a good run across the near post so the goalkeeper is grounded, he can’t come out.

“It was a good switch of play from Danny Hylton to Jack and Jack’s put in a great ball across the box. Collo in the form he’s in, he doesn’t miss from that distance.”

Meanwhile, fellow attacker Jason Cummings, who has two Scotland caps, added: “He’s flying, he’s doing well, scoring goals every week and he’s been different class.”