By Ollie Irish
“No more trips to Belarus – get in!”
Mere hours after he was selected for England’s squad for Wednesday’s ill-timed friendly against Hungary, Paul Robinson announced his retirement from international football. He’s 30 years old. Age is not the issue. Joe Hart is the issue. Flying around Europe only to warm the bench is the issue.
“Only now have I been able to make this decision as previously I haven’t been in contention for selection,” Robbo said.
“I don’t see myself as a number three or four keeper and find that role very frustrating.”
Like most England fans, I like Robbo a lot. He seems like a top bloke, which doesn’t count for as much in professional football as it should. He was ruined, effectively, by that freakish bobble in Croatia, for which he was chastised and cast out, unfairly in my view; Steve McClaren really got that call wrong.
Whilst one day Robinson might look back on this decision with some small pangs of regret, I understand why he’s made it. International football is not what it was, and he might as well concentrate fully on his club career, which is about to enter its final act.
And with Joe Hart the coming man, Robbo must accept that many people do see him as the number three or four keeper in England; or the number two, at best. Right now, I think he probably is the second-best goaly England has (behind Hart), but sadly for him he plays in a position where second place is for losers.
Do you think Robinson has made the correct call?