Former Liverpool defender opens up on Sheffield United struggles after one of career's toughest spells
Ever since he burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old to become Liverpool’s youngest-ever player, Jack Robinson has had to bounce back from disappointment.
From being told he was being released by his boyhood club. To signing for fellow Premier League club QPR, with the hopes and dreams that brings, and then being immediately loaned out again.
To damaging his knee so severely while at Huddersfield that he daren’t walk to the shops, in case it caused more swelling. To a two-year period struggling to walk, never mind play, that led him into, in his own words, a “deep depression”.
It says a lot, having gone through all that, that Robinson describes his recent form for Sheffield United as “one of the toughest spells of my career”. But he has also showed a remarkable determination to bounce back from low moments before. And as he raced away in celebration in front of the Kop on Saturday, after heading in United’s second goal against Luton Town, it felt like a moment of redemption.
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“People have seen I’ve got a big character and I can handle the pressure,” Robinson said. “Going through a tough spell, performance-wise, and you come through that.
“To be honest, it’s been one of the toughest spells in my career. But I’ve come out the other side of it bigger and better. I’m going to continue to push my performances, show this club that I was worth the signing and that I can help them out and push forward this season.”
Robinson has had a couple of hairy moments in a Blades shirt in recent weeks, primarily in defeats away at Wolves and Derby. But he was also instrumental in the against-the-odds away win at Fulham just before Christmas and in many eyes, his biggest fault is simply not being Jack O’Connell – his big mate, fellow Scouser and the man whose shoes, at the left side of United’s back three, Robinson has the unenviable task of filling.
“It's been different things, to be honest,” Robinson continued on his recent struggles.
“You get down. You see the comments and that the fans aren’t happy. But I know myself the performances weren’t good enough.”
Robinson is expected to make his 34th appearance in all competitions for the Blades this weekend when Paul Heckingbottom’s men travel to Peterborough United, looking to make up more ground on the Championship’s play-off places.
After beating Luton, they are eight points adrift of sixth-placed Huddersfield – but, perhaps crucially and thanks to the spate of postponed games in December and January, have three games in hand on their West Yorkshire rivals.
After his first goal in United colours, former Nottingham Forest defender Robinson travels south to London Road with a renewed sense of confidence.
“It’s just kind of going back to basics, to be honest,” he said of his approach to turning his fortunes around. “Having a talk about what went wrong and where we can improve. It was as simple as that, keeping my head up. I think that was the toughest bit.
“I am hard on myself anyway but I continue to push on and I’m reaping the rewards now.”