Robbo: Tough times made me better

Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson believes the tough times he experienced earlier in his career have given him greater mental strength.

The Rovers number one lost his place with England and Tottenham after some high-profile blunders – most notably his infamous air-kick in the 2-0 defeat by Croatia in the failed Euro 2008 qualification campaign.

Former Leeds shot-stopper Robinson moved to Ewood Park in the summer of 2008 and still retains hopes of regaining a starting place in the international side, having featured in Fabio Capello’s recent squads.

Rovers booked their place in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup on Wednesday night thanks to victory over Chelsea, with Robinson the hero of their penalty shoot-out success.

The goalkeeper’s error in the last minute of extra time allowed the Blues to level at 3-3, but he redeemed himself immediately with a superb spot-kick stop from Michael Ballack and then the match-winning save from Gael Kakuta.

“I’m definitely a more rounded person these days. I’m able to deal with situations a lot better and I’m a lot more mature,” Robinson said.

“I can bounce back from whatever. My form this season has been steady – quite good at times.

“I was very disappointed with Chelsea‘s third goal but to be able to bounce back in such a short space of time like I did on Wednesday is unusual for a goalkeeper – but very pleasing. It was such a crazy five minutes or so. The highs and lows of football.

“Possibly I couldn’t have done it earlier in my career. The lessons in life are there to be learned from. And if you don’t learn from them, there’s no point in having them.

“I’m definitely in a better place than I was a few years ago.”

Robinson will be an interested spectator for Friday evening’s World Cup draw from South Africa and hopes Capello’s men get a favourable line-up.

He added: “I’ll be watching the World Cup draw with great interest. We’ve been seeded so, hopefully, we’ll have a winnable group.”