In Focus: Collins buzzing for Bees after record transfer
Brentford broke their transfer record to secure Nathan Collins' signature and he is already proving his worth in West London.
The £23million centre-half has slotted seamlessly into the Bees' rearguard, with only five Premier League sides conceding fewer goals than Thomas Frank's outfit this term.
And Collins was particularly impressive against Newcastle last weekend, despite Brentford falling to a 1-0 defeat.
Ahead of today's clash with Everton, we reflect on how the Irish defender is adapting to life at the Gtech Community Stadium.
Operating in both a back three and a back four, Collins has been composed in possession this season.
He has recorded 294 touches and completed 196 of his 228 pass attempts — the second-most in the Bees' squad.
Brentford's No22 leads the team for successful passes into the opposition half (26) and has also completed all four of his take-on attempts.
A front-footed centre-back, Collins has been particularly adept at progressing play under Frank.
Collins was given greater freedom than usual against Newcastle, allowing him to advance the ball even more effectively.
Reflecting on his role after the match, he said: "They [Newcastle] go full press on goal-kicks so it's difficult.
"When it's in the middle we have to open the game and open the play. We have to get involved and create chances — it's part of the game. I thought we played nice football.
"On the ball, I have a bit more freedom [in a back three]. I can join in the attack a bit more, play a bit higher and suck in players a bit more.
"The gaffer gives me freedom to get involved, so it's up to me to find the right positions."
Standing at 6ft 4in, Collins is not afraid of getting stuck into challenges.
His stature has helped him win an impressive 10 out of 15 aerial battles, while he ranks joint-ninth in the league for headed clearances (11).
The 16-cap international is even more dominant on the deck, winning 11 of his 14 ground duels.
And with the loss of left-back Rico Henry to injury, Collins' commanding presence in Brentford's backline will be more important than ever.
After confirming the capture of Collins back in July, Brentford boss Frank discussed the former Wolves defender's leadership potential.
He said: "He [Collins] is a very talented centre-back and still young.
"His character is really good and we know that character is everything. He will fit into our culture, I have no doubt about that.
"I see leadership potential in Nathan. He's a perfect Brentford player — hungry and ambitious with a desire to learn."
Collins has already started showcasing those abilities and will look to continue his fine form against Sean Dyche's struggling Toffees this evening.