‘Next level’: Aaron Collins earns high praise from former Bristol Rovers captain
Greatness appreciates greatness as a former Bristol Rovers captain admires Aaron Collins
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Last month, Lockyer took in Rovers’ win over MK Dons, in which they won 1-0 with Antony Evans scoring the penalty. He caught a glimpse of the much-ranged Rovers team, which has changed since he left the Memorial Stadium in the summer of 2019.
Collins was part of the academy setup at the Mem, around the same time Lockyer, two years his senior, was at the club. The 25-year-old has been in exceptional form with ten goals and seven assists so far in the current campaign.
His form hasn’t gone amiss outside of the club, with the now Luton Town defender, keeping an eye on his fellow Welshman. The stats have caught the eye of the defender, who prides himself on clean sheets rather than goals.
“I know Aaron really well and I keep in touch with him,” said Lockyer. “I’ve seen him play and he has been doing really well for Bristol Rovers isn’t he?
“For a striker to get as many goals as he has and the assists as well which is quite a surprising thing. I thought of assists as well, wow!”
Lockyer is the only player with Bristol Rovers representation at the World Cup, is in Wales’ 26-man squad. There was a small possibility the two could have been in Qatar with Collins given an outside chance of making the tournament based on his current form.
Unfortunately Rob Page’s mind had already been made up, choosing to reward most members of the squads that got them to the tournament in the first place. Collins has instead remained with Rovers and will play three games for his club, rather than go away on international duty.
He has adapted easily to life in League One and is just six goals shy of his record from last season, which was 16 goals. In the one game that Lockyer has seen, as well as the murmurings he’s heard from those around Rovers, he believes Collins has what it takes to succeed in the game.
He said: “There are really good mumblings coming out about him and a lot of people think he can kick on to the next level.
“ Whether that will be with Bristol Rovers, who knows. It sounds like they’ve got a really good player on their hands.”