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Exclusive: Former Wolves star Robinson explains how loan journey defined his career

For some footballers, longevity at one or two clubs is of the utmost importance to their careers. Examples can be Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Lionel Messi. These players spent the majority or if not their whole careers at one main club, and they're etched into that clubs history for eternity.

But on the flip side of that same coin, there are some footballers who will journey between clubs and countries, continents and competitions, in order to play solid minutes each week and succeed in their individual development.

Carl Robinson might be one of the younger managers on the current landscape of world football, however his career is that of a journeyman that has taken him to different corners of the globe. The former Welsh international began his career in England and despite playing nearly 200 games for Wolverhampton Wanderers, he spent a fair portion of his career traversing through the English system on loan.

The tail end of his playing career saw him try his hand in the MLS, and after his initial intent of spending 3 years in league he spent 12 years in total as a player and a manager across 3 different clubs. Since January of this year, he currently manages Australian side Newcastle Jets prior to the A-League being halted due to the outbreak of covid-19.

Robinson has no regrets over how his career spanned, and heaped praise on his previous managers' willingness to allow him to go out on loan in search of first team football. Robinson explains that for aspiring footballers, spending time at other clubs will serve them well as footballers, but also as people off the field.

"The reason I went on loan was really simple. As a footballer you can sit at a club and pick up wages every week, but not play. Some players get to a stage where they've only played 50 games by 25 years old or get playing experience and have 150 games under your belt at a few different clubs," Robinson explains to Tribalfootball.com.

"As a player there's a common theme that you train Monday to Friday so you can play on Saturday. I wanted to showcase what I had to offer, and I'd ask the manager wherever I was if I could go out and play elsewhere. I didn't want to have a career with regrets or finding myself saying I wish I could've done this or gone there, I wanted to experience as much as possible."

Robinson's career took him through clubs such as Shrewsbury Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, Walsall, Rotherham, Sunderland and Norwich. Some players may play down the idea of going out on loan as a way of cracking back into the first team of their parent club, but for Robinson he wholeheartedly embraced each loan experience and soaked up every inch of his environment.

"Some players are in it for different reasons. Some love the fame, others like being the centre of attention, some are in it for their family or their off-field life.

"Going out on loan allowed me to do that and get a vast experience of being around different people and learning so much about player management even during my playing days. Good managers affect mindset by being positive, and that's something I have taken on board and want to implement as a a manager."

Robinson's extremely coloured career saw his efforts awarded with international caps for the Welsh national team between 1999 and 2009. He details his most memorable loan experience during his time at Rotherham United, a club which was given the labels of underdog and seemingly destined for relegation.

"Before I came in, they were bottom of the championship, it was well documented in the media that the club was too small, and we weren't going to stay up. We ended up finishing 15th after being in a relegation battle when no one gave us a chance.

"In football everyone has opinions, but the reality is that you can change those opinions. That was a huge learning curve for me on so many levels, it really opened my eyes to managing players and means of communication, and how to influence your football accordingly."

About the author

Chris Sermeno

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