Former Leeds United star brought in from America to land shock manager role at Yorkshire rivals

Neill Collins has taken the role at Barnsley after a five-year tenure at American side Tampa Bay Rowdies, where he finished his playing career.
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Former Leeds United star Neill Collins has been appointed manager of League One club Barnsley.

The ex-centre-back, who played 32 times for Leeds United between 2010 and 2011, will be aiming to lead the Yorkshire side to promotion after the club suffered play-off heartbreak last term.

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The role will be Collins' second managerial post after a five-year spell at American side Tampa Bay Rowdies, the club where the defender finished his playing career in 2018.

The Scotsman first joined Leeds United in March 2010 on a loan deal from Preston North End as a replacement for the injured Patrick Kisnorbo. Collins impressed and helped the Whites to promotion from League One that season and, as a result, was snapped up by the club on a permanent deal that summer.

The defender started the next season as first-choice but was dropped to the bench by October, shortly after scoring an own goal in a 5-2 loss against Barnsley.

Across his 17-year professional career, Collins represented a long list of clubs including Sunderland, Sheffield United and Wolves after coming through the youth system at Kilmarnock.

Neill Collins helped Leeds United to promotion in 2020 (Image: Getty Images)Neill Collins helped Leeds United to promotion in 2020 (Image: Getty Images)
Neill Collins helped Leeds United to promotion in 2020 (Image: Getty Images)
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Upon arriving as manager of the Yorkshire rivals, Collins said: “First of all, I’d like to say a huge thanks to the Tampa Bay Rowdies for supporting me in exploring this opportunity. Without all the staff and players incredible hard work this would not have been possible.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be stepping back into the EFL and even more so to be joining a club of this stature. Everything I do will be aimed at repaying the faith shown in me by the owners and Khaled and of course giving the Barnsley faithful a team that they can be proud of.

“I am fortunate to be working with a squad that just achieved a play-off final but understand there is a lot of work to be done if we want to replicate that success and go a step further.

“I can’t wait to get started and work on getting this club back to where it belongs.”