Callum Robinson eager to make a telling contribution in Tbilisi
Sheffield United striker aiming to break his duck and register his first international goal
Callum Robinson: “I feel like I have put in good performances, so now I’m looking to bring that and be positive and do what I do best and help the boys get the right result.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
While the likes of James Collins and Josh Cullen managed to advance their international claims last month, Callum Robinson appreciates that his showing against the Swiss was not quite what he or his manager would have wanted and the 24 year-old is anxious to get back on track in Tbilisi.
“Obviously, I didn’t play the best of the way I can play and that’s upsetting for myself and my family,” the 24-year-old said as Ireland prepared these past few days for what could be a crucial stepping stone to a place at Euro2020.
“But that is what happens when you are learning the game; you overthink, even when on the pitch. That experience can help me in the next few games.”
Robinson, as likeable, it seems, as just about everyone who deals with him seems to say, acknowledges he was fully fit against the Swiss but for some reason just a little off where he needed to be.
“I feel like my running power was low,” he says of that night in September when he was the first line of defence against Swiss left back Ricardo Rodriguez, who proved to be a major problem for Ireland as he repeatedly pushed forward then picked out players in and around Darren Randolph’s area.
“He [Rodriguez] is a top player, a top international player, but I felt like I could do something against him. That’s the annoying thing,” he says.
“I just wasn’t getting myself in the game. I feel like I never got close to anyone on the pressing, defending-wise. 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. The least you can do is work hard. But I felt like I wasn’t in the game.
The Northampton-born Sheffield United striker does not, he insists, feel he needs to “redeem” himself. “It was one game, and I feel like I have put in good performances, so now I’m looking to bring that and be positive and do what I do best and help the boys get the right result.”
McCarthy has always come across as a believer where Robinson is concerned and backed him before the summer to cope well with life in the Premier League if and when the chance presented itself to the then Preston forward.
And to date, Robinson has done just fine even if not all of his eight games have gone as quite sweetly as the one at Stamford Bridge where he scored and was possibly the best player on the pitch.
“I think it’s been a really good start for myself personally and the team,” he says. “We have nine points after eight games and the amount of minutes I’ve been getting, having signed in the summer, just shows the backing from the manager to me.
“I’ve been learning each game, from different kinds of games; top teams like Liverpool [whose Virgil van Dyke, he suggests, has done most so far to show him the levels he must aspire to] and Chelsea, and then some really good hard and tough games against Everton and Watford etcetera. It’s been a really good experience for me so far. Everyone is a little bit quicker, a little bit smarter. You have to make sure you bring your ‘A’ game every week.
“But I’ve scored my first Premier League goal and now my next thing is to score my first international goal. That’s in the back of my head now and I can’t wait for that moment.”