Dave Seddon’s Preston North End Press View: Interest in Callum Robinson’s no surprise

Callum Robinson has caught the eye with his performances for PNE
Callum Robinson has caught the eye with his performances for PNE

News that a Premier League club had made an enquiry about the availability of Preston North End’s Callum Robinson led to plenty of chat but probably surprised no one.

With the frontman about to enter the final 12 months of his contract and having so far made no move to talk about a new deal, summer speculation was inevitable.

Robinson is a talented lad after all, scores goals and is one of the more high-profile players at Deepdale by the nature of his position on the pitch and being involved on the international stage – he gets talked about on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Players reaching double figures of goals playing in the Championship will be watched by clubs from above.

It might be that this is the only enquiry PNE receive about Robinson, although I very much doubt it.

More likely is his name being linked with a couple more clubs, that is how the football transfer machine seems to work.

So it could be a choice of stick or twist for both club and player over the next two months – the window shuts for the Premier League and Championship on August 8 – if enquiries turn into something more substantial.

The attraction which the Premier League has for any footballer is obvious, the chance to play against the best and be paid extremely handsomely for doing so.

Few would begrudge a player a move to the top flight in what is a relatively short career.

North End would have a decision to make if interest intensified – cash-in now or risk losing Robinson for a lower fee in January or for no fee at all next summer when his contract runs out.

Keep hold of him and you at least have the opportunity of getting more goals from him, albeit against a background of the clock ticking and his value dropping.

The ideal scenario for PNE is of course that Robinson stays, signs a new deal and continues to find the net.

I would like to see him stay because he scores goals, sets them up, is a very good player and also a good sort – that latter point should not be overlooked.

That scenario is one for further down the line and for now he will look around and see what is out there, or his agent will on his behalf.

Robinson does need to be careful not to jump at any old offer which might come in from the Premier League.

However tempting it might be to play there, the grass isn’t always greener.

Of course the wages are superb and will always be a big factor.

But from a football point of view, sometimes they don’t always work out.

Two high-profile exits from Deepdale in the last year-and-a-half were Jordan Hugill and Greg Cunningham.

Hugill went to West Ham, Cunningham to Cardiff, both for big fees and on a salary to match.

In Hugill’s case, his time on the pitch in the Premier League amounted to less than half-an-hour.

He spent last season on loan at Middlesbrough, his home-town club so not a bad place by any means, but it wasn’t the top flight.

Cunningham got more of a chance at Cardiff than Hugill had been given by the Hammers but the Irishman’s opportunities were still on the limited side.

Not for one moment would I begrudge them their moves – I’d have both back in a shot here by the way – but things haven’t exactly gone to plan for either.

Robinson has blossomed in his time at Deepdale – in September it will be five years since he first came on loan from Aston Villa, with his debut coming as a sub in a 3-3 draw with Chesterfield.

There were two further loan spells, in between that pair was a soul-destroying stay at Bristol City when he hardly kicked a ball and didn’t settle.

He came permanently three summers ago and has developed into a key player in the team, working well under Alex Neil and his predecessor Simon Grayson.

Robinson was on course for 20-plus goals last season, scoring 10 before injury struck cruelly in November.

He got himself three more on his return after a lay-off nearing four months.

We didn’t see the best of him in that last six or seven weeks of the season, not a surprise bearing in mind he was coming back from a big operation to attach a tendon in his hamstring back to the bone.

His two goals in the 4-0 win over Ipswich was more in line with what he had done before the injury.

It might be a long summer as his future is played out.

Hopefully he stays and hits top form in a Preston shirt but if he does go, it will be about reinvesting and finding a replacement.

To finish off, I’ll throw out the question of whether VAR is being too clinical.

It is there to make sure clear and obvious decisions are called correctly or to rule that a striker’s big toe has taken him offside?

A push in the box, unseen by the referee, or a handball, fair enough.

But did Jesse Lingard have an advantage by his toe being a couple of millimetres ahead of the last Holland player on Thursday night?

Was it clear and obvious, or a case of trying to be too perfect in a sport which will always have an element of human error?