Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Theo Robinson

Dear Town fans,

What is it about Theo Robinson that means people instantly slag him off? Is it his lack of composure in front of goal (you know, that same lack of composure that saw him score 16 goals last season), the lack of a football brain (see previous comment) or the fact he isn't very good in the air?

Whatever it is, there's a great number of you who should be ashamed of yourselves. A player who scores 16 goals in 19 starts, is only 21 and will improve isn't a bad player. I accept he can be a bit of a headless chicken, but what has he really done to make him such a pariah? Is it the umpteen chances he missed against Wycombe? Or is it just that you need a scapegoat?

Many people seemed to blame Theo for the 5-1 defeat at Everton. Right, so the fact the defence conceded 5 and could have conceded more was Theo's fault? He lost possession for the first goal, fine, but the midfield should have closed players down quicker and not allowed the ball to be worked out wide. In fact, the goal we did score - a Lee Croft cross in to Gary Roberts, whose effort was blocked by the goalkeeper only for an under-pressure Johnny Heitinga to bundle over his own line - came about because Theo got in the box and put pressure on the defender, forcing him into the mistake. Good forward play, in other words.

Let's throw another consideration into the mix: playing with one up front. Theo is not a lone striker. He works best with a partner, and it's certainly a bad idea to lump the ball in to him for him to hold up because he can't do it, so why was the whole gameplan in the second half lump it up for Theo to hold up? Is it Theo's fault he isn't a big burly six-foot-three striker who can do the job? No. And why the criticism for him not closing down every defender and allowing them to bring it forward? The system we played - 4-5-1 - meant that if he did do it, there wasn't a second striker putting pressure on the other central defender so it was a straightforward pass for the centre-half to make, so his mate could saunter out of defence under no pressure instead.

A confident Theo is a goalscoring Theo, and we haven't seen that this season because he a) hasn't been given minutes and b) hasn't been confident. I hope we see him in a Town shirt again because he is unpredictable and because he hasn't been given a chance by the people who are supposed to get behind him. If he doesn't come back to Town after his loan spell at Millwall, I hope he has a great career scoring goals at clubs who appreciate him.

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