First impressions count: Preston and Republic of Ireland striker Callum Robinson has been praised by his international manager
Preston North End’s Callum Robinson made a good first impression on Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy.
The 24-year-old featured in both of Ireland’s recent Euro 2020 qualifiers and McCarthy was impressed with what he saw from PNE’s top scorer.
Robinson was a substitute in the 1-1 draw with Denmark and then started the 2-0 win over minnow Gibraltar.
McCarthy liked what he saw from Robinson during the Gibraltar game, playing in a role cutting in from the right-wing.
Said McCarthy: “I think he’s a very talented player.
“He’s a great lad too, he’s got a great personality.
“Callum played his way into my reckoning to be picking him in the first-team.”
After his season went into extra-time with the call-up for Ireland, Robinson will get a holiday now and report back for pre-season training a little later than his PNE colleagues.
In that time there is bound to be more speculation about his future at Deepdale.
Robinson will soon be in the last year of his contract and is waiting to see what interest comes in from the Premier League before deciding if to enter into negotiations over a new deal.
North End had an enquiry earlier in the month from a top-flight club.
McCarthy is not surprised to see Robinson linked with the Premier League.
“I can see why there would be Premier League interest,” said McCarthy.
“Callum has been injured as well, he had a bad injury.
“He’s certainly very quick, he can be very direct.
“The lad’s got a goal in him, he’s got two good feet and I think there’s improvement in him. He can get better.”
North End want to keep Robinson on board but the clock is ticking.
He topped PNE’s scoring charts last season despite a fourth-month absence with a ruptured hamstring tendon.
Alex Neil has played him across the front three , with Robinson offering plenty of versatility.
Neil particularly likes the way he plays off the left-wing, ideally with a more direct type of winger on the other side to balance things out.
While the focus has been on Robinson and his contract, it must be remembered that several other Preston players are getting down to the final year of their current deals.
Tom Barkhuizen and Billy Bodin are two of them, both wingers regarded by Neil as a big part of his plans.
Meanwhile, North End will play Premier League outfit Southampton at Deepdale in a pre-season friendly on July 20.
It is the sixth friendly which they have announced but the first at home.
A seventh game is expected to be added to the schedule in due course.