Sunday 19 January 2020

Callum keen to make his mark with Mick on his return

Eager: Callum Robinson at Ireland squad training
Eager: Callum Robinson at Ireland squad training

They missed out on the start of the new regime under Mick McCarthy but attacking players Callum Robinson and Ronan Curtis are desperate to make up for lost time.

After a spell of shadow boxing which included a week-long training camp in Portugal and then a training game in Dublin last week against the Ireland U21 side, it's down to business this week as Friday's Euro 2020 test in Denmark looms large.

The last time Ireland faced the Danes, it was rookie Robinson who was one of the more impressive players, as he came off the bench at home and away to Denmark in the Nations League matches, two 0-0 draws.

Injury prevented the Preston player from linking up with the squad under new boss Mick McCarty in March, unusual for the normally-fit Robinso n to be out, but he's in the camp now, in form and eager to impress.

"I was gutted. I've never been injured before. I think I missed about one game in five years of first-team football. So it was a real disappointment from being so high and playing the best I've probably played in my career to a setback for four months," he says of his injury.

"It was hard to deal with but I came back and played the last eight or nine games of the season (with Preston) , which was good, and now I'm back in here and feeling much stronger.

"It was hard, I just kept my family close to me. It's hard mentally, especially when you go from a hundred to zero so quick. Yeah, it was hard but I came out of it with no breakdowns from the hamstring and I'm really happy now," he added, happy with life so far under McCarthy.

"It's been good, I've really enjoyed it. He's a positive guy who likes to have a laugh at times, which is good.

"I'm quite a happy sort of bubbly character around the squad so it's really good to let yourself be more free and enjoy it.

"He has come in with a really positive attitude and obviously the lads did great in March which helps when your first two results are wins. So it's been really good."

Curtis is another player from outside the Premier League who got his debut under McCarth y but saw a chance to progress denied due to injury, a freak accident at home where he almost lost a finger when his hand got trapped in the door of his Portsmouth home as he was about to leave for an away game.

"I thought they'd have had to cut half of it off. It was just a little tiny piece of skin that was holding it on.

"So what I had to do was before I went to the hospital, peel it back over and hold it myself, just hold it in place until I got to the hospital. They managed to save it," he says.

Already name-checked by McCarthy as an option out wide, the ex-Derry City man is pleased to be in the frame.

"He (McCarthy) was ringing me, saying he was coming to our games and it was good to get that information, that he likes you as a player.

"It's good for me," he says, happy that his status as a League One player did not rule him out. "He put his faith into us and has given us a chance, not just us, the League of Ireland lads as well."

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