Sheffield United defender Jack Robinson says learning from Chris Wilder has made him a better player
Sheffield United defender Jack Robinson believes he has found the perfect club to fulfil his Premier League potential, after revealing that playing under Chris Wilder is making him a better player.
Nine years after making his last top-flight appearance, during Liverpool’s 5-0 win over Birmingham City at Anfield, Robinson started last week’s draw at Aston Villa after being tasked with replacing the injured Jack O’Connell.
The defender, who started his career on Merseyside, joined United from Nottingham Forest in January and is expected to feature again when Wilder’s side visit Newcastle tomorrow.
“Back then, at Liverpool, I probably wasn’t experienced enough to take advantage of the opportunity,” Robinson said. “Looking back, I can see that but I’m much better equipped now I think.
“When I came here, I always knew I was coming to a team I’d always admired and really fancied playing for. And I’m coming with a lot more experience and know-how.”
United began preparing for their trip to the North-East only four points outside the Champions League qualification positions and Robinson added: “It’s amazing to think where we could be heading if we carry this on. The boys have given themselves a real chance and it’s one we’re all determined to try and take.
“But we can’t think about that yet. Only the next game. That’s the way it’s got to be.”
Robinson’s performance in the West Midlands went some way towards easing Wilder’s frustration as United’s return to action following a three month break was overshadowed by a technological shambles involving the Hawkeye goal line technology system.
Towards the end of the first-half, Villa’s Orjan Nyland carried Oliver Norwood’s free-kick into the back of his own net but, for some inexplicable reason, neither the software nor the VAR official intervened.
Wilder’s take on the 3-5-2 system, which revolves around attacking wing-backs and overlapping centre-halves, has proved difficult for many players to master. But Robinson, aged 26, was praised by both his manager and supporters alike for his ability to grasp its demands.
“When I first came here, I knew it was going to be difficult to get in because Jack was doing so well and is such a good player,” Robinson, still the second youngest player ever to represent Liverpool, said. “But I wanted to be here, there’s no place I’d rather be, and I like a challenge.
“In training, I was watching and trying to learn. The manager was always on at me to get forward more, to step in there or go here, and the more he did, the more I understood what he wanted and what I had to do. He was pushing me, teaching me and challenging me.”
“You can’t compare managers because everyone is different,” Robinson added. “But what I can say is that him and his staff, and working with the rest of the lads, is making me a better player I feel. I just want to carry on improving and take the chance I've got."