Friday 18 October 2019

Robinson aims for a big improvement

Robinson: “I feel like my running power was low. I wasn’t getting myself in the game.” Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Robinson: “I feel like my running power was low. I wasn’t getting myself in the game.” Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Callum Robinson says he is his own toughest critic, and his mission in Tbilisi this evening is to try and erase the memories of last month's struggle against Switzerland.

The Sheffield United player arrived into that Dublin in form, fresh from a big-money summer transfer and a first taste of the Premier League. He made little impact and was replaced in the second half before his club colleague David McGoldrick rescued a point.

It emerged that Robinson was playing through pain, but he is reluctant to cite that as an excuse.

"I feel like my running power was low. I wasn't getting myself in the game," he says, matter-of-factly. "I feel like I never got close to anyone on the pressing, defending-wise. Getting close to someone, leaving something on someone, being a little bit stronger.

"It didn't work out for me on the night and it's obviously horrible to say because, as a footballer, you want to be top of every game and the least you can do is work hard. I felt like I wasn't in the game or close to anyone. That's just me being honest and it serves me well being honest with myself. That's in me now for the next two games coming up. I want to prove it to Mick."

Mick McCarthy could do with an on-song Robinson today, now that McGoldrick's absence is confirmed. James Collins has received positive mentions in the build-up, the exciting Aaron Connolly has emerged on the scene and Robinson's former Preston pal Sean Maguire is back in the fold, but it's still difficult to envisage the 24-year-old sitting this game out.

The manager spoke earlier in the week about how he wanted his front three players to be fluid and flexible, and Robinson ticks those boxes. It also helps that Robinson has had a run of top-flight matches.

He doesn't have to think for long when asked about the identity of his stand-out opponent to date.

"It's easy to say - Virgil van Dijk," he smiles. "He is just something else. When the ball is coming in the box, his positional sense, you can't get in front of him because you are not in the frame of the goal. And if you are behind him he just clears it.

"I have to say, he didn't even have a sweat on. That just proves how good he is."

Robinson will be hoping for more joy from the Georgian defenders standing in his path today.

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