Republic of Ireland defender Nathan Collins left Lodz with his only regret that his stunning solo goal could not secure a Nations League win against Ukraine.

The Burnley centre-half scythed his way through the Ukrainian defence, evading three challenges before stabbing home with the outside of his right foot to give Ireland a first-half lead which was cancelled out by Artem Dovbyk after the restart.

Asked about his remarkable strike afterwards, Collins told RTE: “If it was the last minute, it would be great because we could have got the win.

“But I’d have taken a draw. They’re a good team and we know where we are as a team as well.”

Encouraged to talk about the mazy run which took him past Oleksandr Zinchenko, Serhiy Sydorchuk and Illia Zabarnyi, Collins added: “I haven’t watched it back yet. I need time to watch it back, to have a look at it.

“I just took it in the moment, I took it in my stride and I saw what was open and I took it.”

Ireland boss Stephen Kenny was thrilled with Collins’ contribution not only in Poland, but in all four games during the window.

He added: “Nathan has established himself, he’s caught the imagination. The four games he’s played, he’s been really exceptional in all four games.

“His decision-making for one so young is excellent and obviously he’s got a lot of very good attributes and you feel that he’s improving all the time.

“It was a special goal to score away from home, a very special goal and he deserves huge credit for that.”

It was central defender Collins’ first senior goal for his country and capped a fine individual display.

“It was unbelievable, but I’m not surprised that he scored it,” said West Brom defender Dara O’Shea.

“As soon as he picked the ball up, I knew that he was only going forward. The finish was spectacular, so fair play to him.

“Nathan is a talent and a credit to himself and is only getting better. He’s got to keep this momentum going, ride the wave that he is on and God knows where it can take him.”

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