There's still more to come says Callum Robinson as he relishes being senior member of Preston North End's frontline
Callum Robinson is relishing his role as one of the more senior figures in Preston's frontline but insists there is still more to come.
The North End forward is still considered a prospect by some but while still only 23 he has played approaching 150 senior games after coming through the ranks at Aston Villa.
With new boys Graham Burke, Lukas Nmecha and Brandon Barker all settling in and Josh Harrop still finding his way in his second season at Deepdale, Robinson is one of the more established names in the final third.
While he is well aware of that, PNE’s new No.7 insists he is developing all the time just like his less experienced team-mates.
“I’m really enjoying at the moment,” said Robinson ahead of Wednesday night’s trip to Norwich.
“I know what the gaffer wants from me after a year with him and playing a lot of games under him but I’m still learning every day with him.
“I’m getting there and getting my games in.
“I’ve just got to keep delivering what he puts out there to all the lads and hopefully I can help some of the others along the way.
“I’m still working on things, like the other lads are – I’ve just got a few more games under my belt.”
Robinson, by both his and his manager’s admission, took time to settle after Simon Grayson’s departure in July 2017. But with Neil taking charge of his 50th league game as PNE boss against his former club, the attacker believes the manager’s style has made a big difference over the last 13 months.
“I think I’ve got much better as a player during his time here,” Robinson said.
“He’s got the best out of me so far in my career. He is very detailed in what he does and what he wants from the attackers.
“He’s making me all-around just better all the time.
“As a young player you need that kind of attention.
“We’re all still learning the game so when you’ve got a gaffer going into as much detail as he does it makes it much clearer for you on a Saturday or a Tuesday night what you need to do to get the job done individually and collectively.
“It’s the same for all the boys.”
Having become PNE’s very own ‘CR7’ – a moniker made famous by Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo – Robinson has been in Neil’s plans from the off this season, playing every minute in the Championship while being rested for the League Cup game over Morecambe.
He knows full well what is waiting in the wings though if he drops off at any time.
“I think you need the kind of squad we’ve got,” Robinson said.
“Especially in the Championship, there’s a lot of fixtures and different opposition so different players will get played in different games.
“In my position it keeps you on your toes and makes what you play better and keep improving because you know if you don’t give it 100 per cent then someone is there waiting to take your spot.
“You’ve got to give it your all every game. You can be out before you know it.”
One of those who has stepped up over the last week is Robinson’s former Villa academy team-mate Graham Burke.
The Republic of Ireland international, a summer signing from Shamrock Rovers, scored on his first PNE start against the Shrimps, before doing the same in the Championship in the 2-2 draw with Stoke City on Saturday.
That fine volley against the Potters came after Robinson had sliced an attempt at goal into his path.
“One hundred per cent it was an assist,” Robinson said with a smile.
“I put it in a great area and it was a good finish by Burkey when it landed for him.
“I was really happy for him to get a goal and help the team get a point.“He’s a very technical player who is good at keeping the ball but can also get goals as well.
“I played with him before and knew what he could do. He bided his time on the bench in the first couple of games and now has got himself in.
“Hopefully he can keep scoring and being creative and stay in the team.”
Manchester City youngsters Nmecha and Barker have also caught the eye in the early days of their North End careers.
“There are really good players,” said Robinson.
“Brandon’s got a lot of pace and can get at players but had a few injuries prior to coming here so we’ve got to try and bed him in while Lukas has done well in the games we’ve had.
“He hasn’t got a goal yet but hopefully that will come in the next few games.
“They both look like really effective players.
“Hopefully they can help us to get to where we need to get to.”