'I knew that I still had something to give' - Robinson

After an eight-month absence from the game it seemed as though time was running out for veteran goalkeeper Paul Robinson.

Sunday, 27th November 2016, 10:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:43 pm
Burnley's Paul Robinson and James Tarkowski react after Sergio Aguero scored his sides second goal Photographer Rich Linley/CameraSport

The 37-year-old waved goodbye to life at Ewood Park last summer following a seven-year spell with Rovers as the offer of a new contract proved elusive.

That decision from Gary Bowyer, who is now at the helm at Bloomfield Road, could quite easily have forced an early retirement for the seasoned stopper but Robinson insisted that he wanted the end to be on his own terms.

And so, fueled by the success of a surprisingly understated career, where he followed up a Champions League semi-final appearance with the Leeds United player of the year accolade, as well as lifting the League Cup with Spurs, the England international, capped 42 times for his nation, was determined to prove that he still had something to offer.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be back playing after such a long time,” he said. “My career didn’t end how I wanted it to end so I took a break from the game to evaluate things and I decided that if I wanted to play again it wasn’t going to be in four or five years time, it would have to be now.

“I got myself fit, started training again and I wanted to come back at the best possible level that I could and give myself every opportunity. I didn’t want to come back just for the sake of it. When I came back I wanted to be fit, I wanted to be sharp, I wanted to be hungry.

“I went back training again and the call came from here in January last year and things just went brilliantly. I just bided my time.”

Robinson added: “I knew that I still had something to give and I knew that I wasn’t happy with the way things ended at Blackburn.

“I’d had such a good career and I didn’t want it to end with it being somebody else’s decision. I felt, at 36 at the time, I was too young.

“I enjoyed my time out of the game, I had a little bit of time with the family, but I missed it. If I decided that I missed it in three or four years time then it’s too late by then, I’d have missed it completely.

“I had to do something about it but I didn’t just want to be an old pro coming back just for the sake of coming back. I wanted to do it properly.”

Robinson made his Clarets debut in the 2-1 loss to Manchester City at Turf Moor, stepping in for skipper Tom Heaton who missed the fixture with a calf strain after making 142 successive league appearances for the club.

The Beverley-born keeper was more than a competent deputy despite going 802 days without playing a competitive match.

In his first outing in the Premier League in more than four years, Robinson saved well from Nolito while denying Sergio Aguero twice.

“I was looking forward to it, really looking forward to it,” he said. “For me it’s a free one because nothing was expected of us against Manchester City and nothing was expected of me. I just wanted to go out there and enjoy the performance as best I could and be as good a stand in as I can.

“It was nice to be back on the pitch having not played a competitive Premier League game for four years and a Championship game for two years. It’s just nice to be back on the pitch and playing again and it just felt natural.

“I understand that as soon as Tom is fit he’ll come back in to the team because he’s in fantastic form and he’s the team captain. I’ve got to try and do a job while he’s not in the team.”