Count On Callum!

9

Saturday’s game against Swansea is a massive one – it’s a ‘must not lose’ game rather than a ‘must win’ one. However, a win would almost certainly see us safe for another year. Of our four remaining fixtures, I believe this weekend’s one is probably our best chance of picking up three points. You could argue that Hull at home a week later is but, let’s face it, the Tigers will be well drilled and we are notorious for failing to unlock stubborn defences at Villa Park. Indeed, failing to unlock defences has been a problem all season and Benteke’s strike at home to Stoke a month ago was the last goal we scored from open play: our last two goals have been an Ashley Westwood free kick and a Grant Holt header from a corner. These are desperate times in front of goal.

I feel it’s time to try something different.

Step forward Callum Robinson.

People argue that the heat of a relegation battle is not the time to throw a youngster lacking experience into the fray but if he isn’t getting a game now, when will he? We are in desperate need of someone who can put the ball in the net. Robinson has been doing that all season, albeit for the under-21s, so he’s earned an opportunity. In addition, our two main central strikers are on the treatment table so there is definitely a case emerging for giving Robinson a chance. It was great to see Robinson’s cameo on Saturday, however brief. I don’t like to focus negatively on individuals but Weimann is currently a shadow of the player he was last season and this has been the case for 80% of the season. It’s fair to say that we have really missed the Weimann of last term: his goals have dried up but his all round game is also not on a par with last season. Weimann’s a terrific player and next season will be the true measure of him. Many players go through “second season syndrome”. It’s the third season that defines careers. When Saturday comes, I would be starting Callum Robinson over Andi Weimann. Andi has looked most lively recently when coming off the bench, forcing great saves away at Cardiff and Palace.

Robinson will look back on this season with a real sense of achievement. He made his Villa début in September, his England under 19 debut in November, when he also scored, and he’s now made his first appearance for us in the Premier League. He has also been a consistent goalscorer for the under-21s.

Agbonlahor and Weimann have each scored three goals in the Premier League this campaign, which is not a great return. I’d imagine the Swans will have a plan to deal with them but the opposition won’t know as much about Robinson and that could prove advantageous. The movement in the final third has not been good enough. I’d argue that El Ahmadi from deep has been one of the more effective players off the ball. We need more. Robinson’s confidence must be sky high after the reception he got on Saturday. The writers for the official website have been talking him up again and it must help having Cowans working closely with him and the first team.

I don’t think we lose anything by starting him at the Liberty Stadium: we aren’t banging the goals in and the Swansea defence has shipped fifty-one goals this season. Robinson is supposed to be a very good finisher and this could be a game where we get chances. The pace of Robinson and Agbonlahor could cause Ashley Williams et al problems.

What do you think? Is it time to try something else? Does Robinson deserve a go? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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My name’s Dan Bardell. I’m 29 and I sit in the Upper Holte with my dad. This is our 22nd year as season ticket holders.

My favourite ever players are Ian Taylor, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Gareth Barry, Olof Mellberg, Martin Laursen and Stan Petrov.

My current favorites are Westwood, Clark and Grealish.

Feel free to comment or follow me on twitter: @danbardell

9 COMMENTS

  1. Yes he does deserve a chance.

    I have seen many of his U21 goals, and they tell of maturity and talent.I think we have a real talent in our hands, and when all the other options are either backfiring or injured, then why not?

    My only other question would be , what is Helenius doing at Villa? He’s the only other striker who is not injured, and the team will need him after all the injuries to and lack of form of the other forwards. Will Lambert just let him go? I don’t think so. I hope Helenius stays and bangs in some good goals later on in the year. At the same time, I think bringing in Kozak and Helenius the same year when you have Robinson on your hands was a bit odd.
    So I give my thumbs up to Robinson, but hope that Helenius gets to prove his worth more than Robinson.

  2. A good call on Robinson Dan , it’s time for a change & I’m hearing that rumoured dispute between Sid & Culverhouse was down to the lack of thought on the integration of some of the 1st team squad . I agree also on your thoughts on KEA & think that too many focus on what he does wrong & totally ignore what he brings to the team . And whilest our attack is a problem much more attention should be paid to what our midfield does & more particularly does not do . All too often the impetus is to pass the ball around in midfield or back to the defence rather than play it forward . That might be down to our ex coaches but Delph despite being the hero of many for taking the ball forward is frequently also the cheif culprit for losing the ball & not playing others in . How soon it will be before changes in midfield occur remain to be seen, but I also heard that Sid is also a fan of our U21 captain Johnson,whose name I also heard mentioned in connection with the rumoured dispute involving Sid

  3. I also would like to see Robinson start but a part of me worries that if things go wrong and the fans start booing that isn’t going to do much for his confidence

  4. But Helenius has been out injured , & in any case he’s more of a support striker which was more the role he played for the U21’s in the last Villa game he played in
    I also agree about Robinson & boos but @ some point the risk of that happening has to be taken . And even Lambert has suggested that as a reason for not using the U21’s

  5. My worry is that he’s hardly setting the world on fire in terms of goals at lower levels.

    I expect big grant Holt will start and CR may get the last 15 mins from the bench. Our management track record is very conservative.

  6. Callum Robinson is not the answer. I’ve seen him a lot at under 21 level and yes, he looks a potentially half decent finisher at the lower level, but he is a million miles away from what we need right now.

    Given time he might make it at the premier league level, he might not.

    At this moment in time we need Agbonlahor, Weimann and co to step up to the plate and contribute to the cause. Their failings are contributing heavily to our sad demise.

  7. I certainly wouldn’t start him this season. it’s too much pressure for a young lad like him. Holt will start, and then a 15 minute cameo will probably be the most action Callum gets, depending on how the game is progressing.

  8. Interesting point in Daniel Johnson. He was on the edges of the squad a few seasons back and continues to get strong reviews for reserve performances but has not been anywhere near the first team OR given the opportunity of a good loan. Must be really frustrating for the kid. I can’t imagine he would be any worse than Bertrand or Bennett in midfield?

  9. From what we’ve seen from Holt, gabby and Weimann so far I think he should get a run out. I don’t know much about him TBH but if he’s even half decent he can’t be any worse at finishing than the three supposed strikers playing at the moment

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