Saturday, October 20, 2012

Robinson Hoping To Impress Rodgers

Jack Robinson has set himself a long-term target of being Liverpool's first-choice left-back, and a short-term goal of impressing manager Brendan Rodgers.

Robinson, 19, has made eight first-team appearances for the club in two-and-a-half years, but three of them have come this season. Rodgers' willingness to use young players has seen Robinson feature in Europa League games against Hearts and Udinese, as well as a Capital One Cup victory at West Brom.

The Warrington-born defender was the youngest first-team player in the club's history when he made his debut as a substitute, aged 16 years 250 days, in a Premier League match at Hull in May 2010. That record was broken by forward Jerome Sinclair in the cup win at West Brom last month, and Robinson sees that as a sign that youth will be given its chance this season.

Rodgers has also given opportunities to teenagers Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom and Suso in both league and cup games this season. The likelihood is that several youngsters, including Robinson, will be given further chances to make an impact against Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League next week, and Swansea in the Capital One Cup the week after.

And the defender is keen to stake his claim for a left-back slot that, in the long term, appears to be up for grabs. With Jose Enrique struggling for fitness and form this season, Rodgers has preferred to use Glen Johnson, nominally a right-back, in the role, but has also tried Robinson and winger Stewart Downing there.

"I think this is a big chance for me to impress this season," Robinson told Liverpool's website. “This year has been the best year for me. I've been injury free and managed to get a few games for the first team, so it has been really good so far.

"If I can keep improving in my game and show the manager what I can do, then hopefully he'll give me a few more chances. If I get the chance, then I'm sure I can make that position mine one day.

"Seeing the manager give us young lads this season has given me a lot of confidence. Raheem has been doing fantastic, Suso has done well and Andre has come in and done well. The confidence is sky high with all the youngsters coming through together.

"We have all come through the Academy and played together at Under-18 level and now to get that chance at first-team level is just brilliant."

Robinson earned his first England Under-21 call-up last week, but had to withdraw from the squad for the European Championship play-off against Serbia due to illness.

"I had the flu so the doctor said not to train, but just being a part of the squad was a fantastic experience," he said. "Hopefully if I can keep progressing and playing well then I might get another chance with the England Under-21s, but first I have to concentrate on Liverpool and trying to get a place in the team."

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