Wins have been hard to come by in the Nations League across three campaigns for the Republic of Ireland, but defender Nathan Collins says he will take a “must-win” mentality into today’s battle with Scotland in Dublin.
He finished on the winning side in his first two games at senior level, against Qatar and Lithuania, and followed that up with competitive losses in Armenia and at home to Ukraine, but he insists he has never lost that drive for victory.
"I think every game of football is must-win. I don't see how you would go into a game without that mentality,” says the Dubliner.
"Every game I play I want to win, it’s a must-win. When I go in with that mentality, I play my best football so, as a player, as a team, we all know it's a must-win but so do Armenia and Ukraine so nothing really changes. We know we've got a job to do and that's go out and win a game of football."
Team-mates Chiedozie Ogbene and Jason Knight have stressed the need for speed, as in moving the ball faster, to lift that poor form in the Nations League, a challenge as defender Collins admits.
“It's easy to say that sometimes,” Collins says. "We control the ball a lot, when teams sit against us it's hard to move it and break down a team. We're also missing maybe in the final third, we lack that end product but that can also come from a defender, I could step in and find that pass or someone else but as a team, I think overall we know what we're missing, it's that bit of end product and we need to find it.”
With only two competitive caps on his CV the 21-year-old is learning at international level but exposure at Premier League level last season with Burnley helped.
"I've enjoyed it, I love it, I love playing in the Premier League against the players, and then coming in into the international side, I love playing for Ireland, I love the style we play and the freedom the manager gives me and I really enjoy it,” he says.
"On a personal note, I think I have done alright. I watched back my games and I look at what I can improve on and there is still a lot to go. I've done my job at some part but overall we've still conceded two goals in two games so maybe I can help out the team a little more to help prevent them.
"If we didn't concede two goals, we wouldn't have lost two games so that can be the difference. As much as people are giving me praise, I still think I can do a lot better, and improve a lot. I prefer to win really.”