New Preston North End manager Alex Neil’s style of play has certainly been to the liking of Callum Robinson.
The former Norwich boss has implemented a passing, technical style from the moment he set foot on the Lilywhites’ Springfields training ground.
Neil also likes his side’s to be on the front foot, something which is music to the ears of North End’s number 37.
Having played wide and as a supporting front man under Simon Grayson, Robinson has also featured in the number 10 role for his new manager.
It saw the former Aston Villa youngster in the thick of the action at Accrington Stanley, numerous shots peppering the goal of Simon Jorgensen as both he and North End came away without reward, exiting the Carabao Cup at the Crown Ground on Tuesday night.
“It’s good finding the pockets,” said Robinson, the only outfield player to start both games so far this season.
“It’s a hard thing to do, you have to rely on the full backs and the central midfielders to hit you as early as possible.
“I enjoyed it on Tuesday night and I enjoyed it during the few games in pre-season.
“For me, anywhere, left, right as a 10 or up front, I really enjoy being the in the final third scoring goals and getting assists. That’s the main thing.
“We’re playing good football and it’s all on the deck. Sometimes you’re going to have to go long and hit channel balls but I’ve really been enjoying it with the new manager.”
Robinson’s versatility will be key as the season progresses.
Neil’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation sees the three players in behind the front rotate and look to keep the opposing defence on their toes.
Despite having emerged as a key man at Deepdale with 11 goals last season, Robinson knows he is far from assured a starting spot.
New boys Josh Harrop and Stephy Mavididi have arrived to compete with Tom Barkhuizen, Daryl Horgan and Daniel Johnson amongst others.
“There’s plenty of options for the new manager,” said Robinson.
“We’ve still got Josh Harrop to come back and Stephy’s just come in so we’ve got a lot of flexibility and a lot of competition.
“Everyone wants to keep their spot in the team and it only drives people to play better.
“You want that competition, it gets the best out of you.
“I’m really looking forward to the season.”
North End fans have seen little of Harrop, niggling injuries meaning the former Manchester United youngster has been limited to just three friendly appearances so far.
Robinson played with Harrop as part of the England youth set-up and is confident Preston fans will like what they see when he is fit and firing.
“I played with him a few times for England Under 20s and he’s a really good player,” he said.
“Technically he’s really good and I can’t wait to have him back.
“He’ll be a big part of the squad when he comes back.”
Mavididi made his Lilywhites bow in the defeat to Accrington and Robinson is confident the Arsenal loanee will also make his mark.
“I’m not the slowest but he’s got a lot of pace,” he said.
“With the more games he gets he’ll end up being a very good player for us.
“He’s quite quick off the mark but if you give him space he’s got the ability to beat people.
“He’ll be a threat in behind as well.”
The pair are the latest emerging talents to arrive at Deepdale, the club developing a reputation for bringing in young players and giving them the opportunity to find their way in the game.
Robinson knows all about that having made a real breakthrough in the second tier last season, his form attracting a bid believed to be in the region of £2 million from Derby.
The man who pipped him to the top goalscorer gong last season Jordan Hugill has also been the subject of transfer talk.
With the pair, and others, having come of age Robinson is now confident the Lilywhites are primed for more a sustained run at the top six.
“Some lads now have got 100 or 150 games under their belt,” he said.
“We’re young but we’ve got the games in so I feel like we’ve got a lot of experience now.
“I think the gaffer’s going to get the best out of everyone here and I think that we’ve got a real aim to get in the top six.”
A play-off push would mean Neil’s side taking points off clubs like Leeds United, the Lilywhites travelling to Elland Road on Saturday.
Robinson knows PNE will need to show more of what they did in the 1-0 opening day win over Sheffield Wednesday rather than the Accrington cup exit.
“Saturday went really well,” he said.
“We worked hard as a team and then ended up getting the win against a very good side.
“I thought we made them look quite average to be honest which was really pleasing.
“Tuesday night was disappointing. We had a lot of chances that we didn’t finish off and fair play to Accrington they worked hard all night.”
North End will have to improve on the two defeats to last season, then manager Simon Grayson seeing his side go down 4-1 at Deepdale on Boxing Day before a 3-0 defeat in West Yorkshire in April as Alex Baptiste was sent off.
They will present a different challenge with Thomas Christiansen in now in charge.
“We started really brightly at their place,” said Robinson.
“Bark’s (Tom Barkhuizen) had a few chances and we could easily have been 2-0 up within about 10 minutes.
“There’s a new manager but they’ve kept hold of virtually the whole group and we know it’s going to be a test.
“It’s obviously a tough place to go, every player in the Championship will say that.
“We’re going to go there confident though.
“Tuesday night has gone now and we’ve got to take the positives from the game on Saturday into this weekend.”