Spurs-Reading: The Paul Robinson Dilemma

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Spurs-Reading: The Paul Robinson Dilemma
Paul Robinson’s transfer to Spurs in the summer of 2004 can only be described as a steal—one which only came about due to a fire sale at Leeds United.

Fans were understandably happy at the prospect of having a potential England No. 1 in net. I had personally watched Robbo on a number of occasions during the U-21 Championships in 2002, and felt even then that he should have gone to Japan/Korea ahead of the legendary but over-the-hill David Seaman.

Robinson was a rock immediately after joining Spurs, posting match-winning performances and rightfully claiming the England No. 1 jersey after Seaman’s departure.

But lately he's been in an unbreakable funk.

The turning point for Robinson seems to have come during the forgettable away loss to Croatia in the Euro qualifiers back in 2006—namely on the infamous Gary Neville own-goal.

I and most people with an ounce of common sense could see that Robinson wasn't to blame—the ball had flicked up off a divot on the pitch and over his foot.

Sh#t happens, right?

The media, though, were less than sympathetic to Robinson, as seems to be the norm with any player underperforming in and England shirt.

And I'm not sure Robbo ever recovered.

When the dust settled, Robinson continued his fine displays for Spurs even while dropping a few howlers for the national team. His club form was unaffected—something which perhaps mirrored the differences in fan support.

Robbo is well liked at the Lane, whereas at international level he sees that support disappear—with many fans calling for his head.

After Robinson was dropped for the crucial return game against Croatia, it seems his confidence has ebbed entirely away. Now he's starting to make those same howlers for Spurs he used reserve for England.

Martin Jol, to his credit, kept faith in Robbo. Up to this point, Juande Ramos hasn't had a real reason to consider his goalkeeping options—until now, that is.

The Spurs-Reading game was as ridiculous as it was entertaining. It's not every day you see your team win 6-4, with one player picking up four of the goals.

The first two Reading goals were dreadful from a goalkeeping point of view. The first saw some unconvincing punching and poor positioning from Robinson lead to an easy finish.
The second saw a header off a corner somehow bamboozle Robinson to such an extent that he ended up flapping at thin air on what should have been a routine stop.

You may say, “Well you won the game, so it doesn’t matter,” but imagine if Robinson had made those mistakes against Arsenal or Manchester Unitd. Even the most devout Spurs fan will concede that we're not going to put six past those two...even on our best day.

As I see it, it's time to give the up-and-coming Ben Alnwick a run in goal. It can’t be doing him any good to watch Robinson put in a performance like that and stay in the team.

As much as I like him and wish for him to play well, Robinson needs to be shown he's droppable—and now seems as good a time as ever.
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