Home Features Here’s To You Callum Robinson; Ireland Needs You More Than You Know

Here’s To You Callum Robinson; Ireland Needs You More Than You Know

Let’s get this out of the way early. Monday night’s game was abysmal.

Yes, it was a win, a clean sheet, a dominant performance in possession, shots taken, and every aspect except the scoreline.

But green, ‘Big Mick’- tinted glasses aside, there weren’t a tonne of positives to be taken from beating the 195th best team in the world via an own goal and a 92nd-minute header.

What was missing from the Boys in Green was that killer instinct and creativity to make things happen in the final third; save for the promising display of Callum Robinson on his seventh cap in the green of Ireland.

The 24-year old’s performance was tremendous but what last night truly hammered home was, in the wider context, his importance to this current Irish team, and how priceless he could be to McCarthy as the challenge of Switzerland home and away and Georgia in Tbilisi await.

Let’s first begin with the Gibraltar game in a vacuum.

Callum Robinson

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David McGoldrick won the man of the match and, in truth, did have a good performance, but playing out wide, Robinson was the brightest spark in a decidedly dull attacking quartet on a night when they had as perfect a platform to impress as international football can provide.

Robinson had a cameo against the Danes and looked lively but Monday night, playing on the right side of a 4-4-2 formation, the Preston man shone and although there weren’t as many clear cut chances as there should’ve been – just seven shots on target from a whopping 31 taken – he was involved in almost everything good in green.

The 24-year old appeared to strike up a lovely relationship with Seamus Coleman on the right-hand side, (a stark contrast to his compatriots on the left) with the two linking up for the opening goal.

Callum Robinson

In the clip below Coleman feeds Robinson and is immediately on the overlap, but what the Preston man does well here is something so effective yet so rarely done from this Irish side; he attacks his man.

Yes, he gets a huge chunk of luck as the ball falls to McGoldrick, but he’s positive and after the first deflection is alert enough to make another intelligent run to make space for the pass from Coleman. Good work rewarded.

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– Credit Sky Sports

Just two minutes later McGoldrick picks the ball up deep, but Robinson’s attacking instincts lead him to come inside and occupy the second striker role in the Sheffield United man’s absence.

Not only does this give the Gibraltarian centre-backs a headache with an extra man in the middle, but it gives Coleman more space for a run on the full-back out wide.

The shot is dragged past the post and maybe the ball to Coleman would’ve been better but again, promising.

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– Credit RTE

Three minutes later, Robinson picks the ball up from the break at the centre circle. Again, his first reaction is to switch the play out right to Coleman who he knows will be there.

Watch how the Preston man makes a very intelligent burst into the box as Coleman stands his man up on the right. Robinson had 13 goals for his club this season and it’s easy to see why with creative movement and correct decision making like in the below clip.

The chance is difficult but the improvisation is almost wonderful even if it didn’t get the finish it unquestionably deserved.

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– Credit RTE
Credit RTE
– Credit RTE

Last example of the half; again it’s so simple from Robinson but it’s something that Ireland didn’t do enough. The 24-year old, one-on-one with the defender is confident and backs himself to get into a shooting position.

He cuts inside and unleashes a strike off his weaker foot which flies past the post. It’s difficult to envision many others in green who would’ve even taken that on.

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– Credit Sky Sports

In the second half, we saw another example of Robinson’s creativity as well as the blossoming chemistry with his new partner in crime Seamus Coleman on the right.

The duo linked up excellently and are patient, with Robinson, in particular, probing as he twists and turns his man before delivering a ball into a nice area around the penalty spot. The chance is cleared but it’s more strong work from the 24-year old.

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– Credit RTE

Even something as simple as the below clip. Look at the run Robinson makes. McGoldrick has an excellent strike and is desperately unlucky to see it cannon off the post, but again we see the Preston man’s intelligent movement and desire to get into a promising attacking position to receive the ball.

With McGoldrick occupying a wide area, Robinson has come inside and found himself in acres of space as a fantastic option to use for the Irish number nine should he decide to pick him out.

It’s simple yet so effective.

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– Credit Sky Sports

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A strong showing from Robinson on a night where many around him struggled, and it’s hard to overstate how important he is to this Irish team as a whole.

At 24, he was the youngest player in green against Gibraltar, with Brady, Hogan, Duffy and Hendrick the closest to him and still three years his senior. Aside from Callum O’Dowda, Ronan Curtis and Josh Cullen, he was the youngest outfield player in McCarthy’s 24-man squad. Robinson is impressing now, but he’s very much a player for the future too.

Robinson is also an anomaly in the current squad in that he is a completely different attacking option to anything else available. A pacey creative attacker with an eye for goal who, and we simply cannot stress this enough, is actually able to beat a man, unlike the Robbie Brady and James McClean of present.

Ireland need a saviour in the goal-scoring department given the fact that it’s been nine games since a striker last found the net. While others have struggled to take their chance, Robinson, who has only played 74 minutes under Mick McCarthy is unquestionably their greatest hope.

In September and October when the true tests arrive he will have had a full preseason behind him and questions of fitness should no longer be an issue.

Under Martin O’Neill, Ireland struggled in the creative department. Under Mick McCarthy, the issues remain but the new manager is doing his utmost to resolve them. Callum Robinson; Ireland needs you more than you will know.

About Oisin McQueirns

Oisin McQueirns is a digital journalist at Pundit Arena. Massive fan of Leeds United, Ric Flair and Trusting The Process. Contact him here oisin@punditarena.com