Preston North End’s own ‘CR7’ Callum Robinson is ready for action

Callum Robinson is Preston North End's new No.7
Callum Robinson is Preston North End's new No.7

Preston forward Callum Robinson is ready to get back out on the pitch after the first week of pre-season training.

The Lilywhites head to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium to face Bamber Bridge in their opening friendly on Saturday.

The 12.30pm kick-off, brought forward because of England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden, will see North End’s players get their first taste of match action after several days of warm-weather work at Springfields.

“I don’t mind the heat too much,” said Robinson, who scored seven goals for the Lilywhites last season.

“No matter what the weather is it’s always good to be back in with the lads.

“Everyone’s come back in really good shape and it’s about getting fit.

“You’ve got to dig in but most of the lads aren’t far off anyway because we look after ourselves over the summer.

“Pre-season has changed even while I’ve been in the game. You have your testing and stuff but you do most of your work with the ball at your feet.

“Now I just want the games to kick in. They really help and make it go quicker as well.”

This weekend’s pre-season fixture will see the 23-year-old wear No.7 for the first time as a North End player.

Traditionally No.37, Robinson’s new jersey has seen him dubbed PNE’s very own CR7, the brand made famous by Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I’ve always wanted to be a seven,” said the former Aston Villa youngster.

“I made 37 my own over the last three or four years.

“I’m really happy with the new number though and people on Twitter posting about CR7 made me smile.

“It was my number as a kid and my mum was really happy when she saw it.

“I’ve just got to be careful that Ronaldo doesn’t chase me about image rights or anything!”

Robinson’s summer was shorter than some after he got his first taste of Republic of Ireland action.

The versatile forward played in the friendly against Celtic in May, qualifying for Martin O’Neill’s side through a grandmother.

There is still some paperwork to sort, however, before he can represent Ireland in a full international.

“I loved every minute of it,” Robinson said.

“It was annoying that it couldn’t go on for a little bit longer. I only had the two days of training and then the game against Celtic.

“That game was an unbelievable experience. It was really good to put on a shirt and make my family proud.

“We’re just getting the final paperwork over the line now.

“It shouldn’t be long. The citizenship is done, it’s just getting the passport and then it’s all official.”