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Paul Robinson Is Nervous
Written By Justin on Saturday, September 8, 2007 | 10:54:00 AM
Or if he isn't, he should be.
People focus on Robbo's "mistakes," but that isn't really what worries me about him. Every keeper makes mistakes. To me, Robinson's problem - backed up by meticulous statistics from The Football Review - is that he is beaten by shots other top keepers save, particularly shots from distance.
Of the 8 English keepers who held down #1 spots last season in the Premiership, Robbo ranked last in percentage of shots saved, at 72.86%. To put that in perspective, Petr Cech led the league at 92%. Granted, Cech is a freak, and Paul Robinson is going to look bad in comparison, but 20% is an enormous statistical disparity. So let's look at the man who I believe should be England's number one, Scott Carson. Scott ended last season with a save percentage of 78%, but this season has been in cracking form and is at 88%. Robbo, again, is dead last among English keepers, a middling 64%.
So how does Robbo keep his place for club and country? Well, this is all relative. He's not as good as Scott Carson or David James, or most of the keepers in the Premiership in fact, but that doesn't mean he isn't a very good keeper. He has outstanding reflexes and a very safe pair of hands. He is also, it must be said, a keeper who knows how to make an ordinary save look difficult, and a difficult save look brilliant. Last season against Man United at home, he made a great show of turning a couple of shots over the bar, then allowed a tame Ronaldo cross to slip under his body for Paul Scholes to stab home. The commentator promptly excused the error because "He'd made a handful of brilliant saves."
If England, playing with the disadvantages of being at home and having a squad of multi-millionaire star players, can somehow overcome mighty Israel today, perhaps the pressure on Robbo will ease. If there is any slip from the Spurs man, though, it may be his last game in an England shirt for a very long time.
Turned out to be an easy game. Russia might be trickier, though they didnt look particularly good against Macedonia.
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