Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Robinson Can Embrace Club and Country

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Robinson Can Embrace Club and Country

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Carl Robinson has one eye on the Premiership and the other on the World Cup. Paul Gilder met a player determined to make up for lost time this season.

Rarely during Sunderland's pre-season stay in the United States was Carl Robinson spotted without the backwards-facing baseball cap which has become a personal trademark since his arrival at the Stadium of Light.

Much has been made of Mick McCarthy's youthful purchasing policy this summer, yet Robinson, although appearances suggest otherwise, is not one of the Black Cats' new legion of young guns.

"I seem to have gone from being one of the younger lads at Portsmouth to being one of the older lads here over the course of the summer," said the 27-year-old, who quit Fratton Park after becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of first-team opportunities under Harry Redknapp.

"I'm only 27 but I'm one of the more experienced players in this squad."

Dean Whitehead, Liam Lawrence, Stephen Elliott and Mark Lynch may all have a bright future. But it is in the hands of players like Robinson and his contemporaries that the club's push for promotion is likely to lie this season.

"We have got a young squad but that is clearly the way the manager wants to take the club forward," said Robinson, who jumped at the chance to join Sunderland following a loan spell in the North-East during the closing stages of last season. "I think it's a good way, the right way."

His faith in Robinson's ability was one of the reasons why McCarthy decided to let Jason McAteer and Paul Thirlwell move on at the end of last season; the Welsh international is now determined to repay his manager for that belief by helping guide an inexperienced squad in the right direction.

"You need the experienced lads in the side and players like myself, Gary Breen, Jeff Whitley and Mart Poom are all important to the team," he said. "There are a lot of talented youngsters here and sometimes they need a word in their ear or a hand on their shoulder. …

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