Leyton Orient kids can handle National League insists midfielder Michael Collins
PUBLISHED: 12:30 30 May 2017
Simon O'Connor Photography
Former Scunthorpe United captain talks about how O's youngsters will fare in non-league football and the reputation of the Brisbane Road outfit
Michael Collins has backed Leyton Orient’s young guns to impress in the National League next season, but acknowledged they need experience around them.
The midfielder, who is currently on holiday, is taking time out before deciding whether to accept a new deal at O’s.
Speaking recently, Collins explained why Orient’s academy graduates should be able to cope with life in the National League.
He said: “One thing which will help the club in the long-term is that the young lads there have shown they can handle first-team football. With the right people around them there are a lot of positives at the club.
“It is not like you look at Leyton Orient and think there is nobody there and the young lads are untested, the club might lose a lot of senior players, but the young lads have actually been tested and showed they can stand up to it.
“Having said that, like at any club you do need a good mix of youth and experience and it is important the club are able to bring in the right sort of people.”
The experienced midfielder discussed the reputation Orient has in the Football League and how many onlookers were shocked to see them relegated.
Collins also again reiterated how the east London club must look to the future now and not just focus on the short-term.
“Once things are sorted and there is a little bit of stability it will attract the right sort of people because it is a great club,” said the 31-year-old.
“Whenever I spoke to anybody this season they were baffled and would tell me Leyton Orient are far too big to go down, but as we have seen up and down the divisions over the years, sometimes things go wrong at big clubs and they find themselves in the lower-leagues.
“Portsmouth are a prime example. They have just had a good season and got promoted, but went from winning the FA Cup and in the Premier League down to League Two, so it happens.
“A lot of people I speak to in League One and Two just couldn’t see Leyton Orient going down because it is such a good club, so that is the reputation on the outside. Hopefully things get sorted and the club can start planning for the future.
“They need to lay out an outlook that hopefully sets out the next four or five years and gets them back to where they belong.”
After endearing himself to the O’s supporters with his commitment, leadership and hard work, a lot of fans will hope the club’s future includes Collins, who has built up a great rapport with the Brisbane Road faithful in a short space of time.