Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Robinson satisfied that English expectations are perfectly balanced

 

By Declan Warrington

Former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson hopes Gareth Southgate's side can avoid the pressure of unrealistic expectation at this summer's World Cup.

The Three Lions are not among the favourites in Russia, though captain Harry Kane has already spoken of his confidence that the squad can cause an upset.

Expectations were of a different order back in 2006, when Robinson was Sven-Goran Eriksson's first choice in Germany.

His team-mates included the likes of David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand - a group widely seen as contenders until their quarter-final exit to Portugal on penalties.

"The build-up we had was probably right, we had the so-called 'Golden Generation'," he said.

"Looking at the quality that we had there, with hindsight you could say we underachieved.

"If we got through the Portugal game, who knows what could have happened with the players that we had.

"The players these days? Gareth has picked a very young squad. There is always an expectation but now there's a realistic expectation, and that will allow the squad and manager to develop.

"This is a squad that's looking to the Euros and the next World Cup, if they can stay together as a group and develop as a group."

Robinson does not place too much store in Kane's bullishness, seeing it as a necessary show of confidence.

"The England captain can't say anything else," he said. "The England captain's not going to sit in front of the press and say 'we might do alright'.

"Of course he's got to say (they can win it) and of course he can believe that. He knows the squad, the players, and that's what you go to a tournament believing. There's no point turning up if you're not going to believe that."

Robinson, 38, retired from playing last summer after a stint with Burnley, when he deputised for Tom Heaton and kept Nick Pope out of the matchday squad.

Now the latter is travelling with Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland, having grabbed his Premier League chance last season with both hands.

"I was the mentor, the old man. I was Tom's number two and Popey was number three," he said.

"I don't think anybody could anticipate him reaching that level so quickly, but he was definitely a first-team goalkeeper in the making."

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph