Robbo back in business
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Paul Robinson says criticism he got after defeat in Croatia made him stronger.
England number one Paul Robinson says the criticism he received after defeat in Croatia has only made him a better goalkeeper.
The Tottenham keeper came in for his first real stack of criticism after England lost in Zagreb last October, after Gary Neville's back-pass bobbled over his foot as he attempted to clear and rolled into the back of his net.
Robinson has been rebuilding his reputation ever since and, although Ben Foster played the friendly against Spain in February, the former Leeds man will return in between the posts as England face a crucial qualifier in Israel on Saturday.
The 27-year-old says that he is getting back to his best form of late, and wants to prove he is still England's number one against Israel.
"I feel my form has picked up over the past few weeks," said Robinson.
"I feel as though I am getting back to the top of my game and confidence helps.
"After the Croatia game, it was difficult and I took a lot of criticism when still to this day I do not think there was anything I could have done.
"For people to say it was an error and that it was my fault, is ridiculous. That was the main thing which angered me.
"To get tarred with that brush of being error-prone was ridiculous because it would have happened to anyone in the same situation - I went to kick the ball, and the ball was not there.
"It takes a very strong person and a strong character to come through it. At times it is not easy, but I am definitely a stronger person."
Robinson himself scored a bizarre goal for Spurs last weekend when his hefty free-kick bounced over, ironically enough, Foster, in the Watford goal at White Hart Lane.
Foster is one of a number of young England goalkeepers pressing Robinson, including Scott Carson and, when fit, Chris Kirkland, and the current number one is happy with the competition.
"I knew I was sitting out of the Spain game, but the media made a lot of it," Robinson insisted.
"You can see the managers point of view - if I am injured or have to miss a game, then Ben has not even played a European game for his club let alone an international.
"He needed to know Ben could cope in that situation, and I fully understood that.
"Everybody needs competition. It is healthy for the squad. Scott and Ben are at clubs which have been struggling a bit this season.
"I may get one save a game, whereas they get six, seven or eight a game. They are getting rave reviews for the saves they are pulling off left, right and centre, whereas I am only getting maybe one shot a game to deal with.
"If I do not get that one, then I have had a bad game. So it is difficult."