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World Cup Player to Watch: Part Two

England – Paul Robinson
By The Scout

With all of the fuss and furor surrounding young Mr Rooney’s metatarsal, as well as coach Sven Goran Eriksson’s tactics and team selection, little focus has been paid to one of the main sources of recent English failures at the big tournaments — goalkeeping.

Going back to 2002 when David Seaman had to shoulder a lot of the blame for the quarter-finals loss to Brazil. Seaman was caught drifting off his line and misjudged a long-range Ronaldinho free-kick, which was ultimately the decisive goal in the match. David James was less than impressive at Euro 2004 and had some shaky performances in qualifying for the current World Cup. The final straw appeared to be his conceding all four goals during a 4-1 loss to Denmark in a 2005 friendly, he was summarily dropped as the number one keeper afterbeing widely criticised.

Taking over the number one position is the relatively young Spurs keeper Paul Robinson. Robinson came up through the ranks at Leeds United and gained valuable experience during the 2000-01 season with Champions League starts against Besiktas, Barcelona, Real Madrid
and Lazio. After Leeds was relegated from the Premiership, he moved to Tottenham Hotspur and assumed the number one duties from U.S. international Kasey Keller.

While far from the most physically imposing keeper, Robinson is 6′ 3″ with great leaping ability, is an exceptional shot stopper and makes many purely reactional saves. Will his athletic gifts and extensive scouting of other teams shooters improve England’s chances and give
them hope of winning a match should it come down to penalties? Sven and millions of English fans are counting on it.

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