Robinson expects tough test in 'Cup tie atmosphere' of Cardiff

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Indeed, the England goalkeeper likened it to the defunct Home Nations championships. "And every country likes beating England," he said. "It will be a full house, a great atmosphere."

It will also be the first time the Tottenham Hotspur player has appeared at the Millennium Stadium and, despite the injuries in the Welsh squad, he expects more from them than in the meeting last October.

"I think they were disappointed with the way they played," he said of Wales' performance and 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford. "We were expecting more of a game than we actually got."

England also expects - especially after the 4-1 rout in Denmark (the heaviest defeat inflicted upon them since the Welsh achieved the same score, of course, in the aforementioned Home Nations in 1984).

Robinson was absolved of blame over the events in Copenhagen, having been taken off at half-time due to the concerns of his club head coach, Martin Jol, as the player had only just recovered from a knee injury.

But he watched as David James put paid to his own international career. Not that he wants to dwell on his rival's misfortune. "It is a difficult position," Robinson said. "You are on your own out there and you know if you make a mistake then you're the last line of defence. It's always difficult and you never like to see anyone play a bad performance."

Next week will mark the first anniversary of Robinson replacing James as his country's first-choice and his growing authority has been evident in the wider role he has been given at his club, including wearing the captain's armband. Having recently signed a seven-year contract, he is happy with the progress being made.

"Playing for England means that I need to be playing at the top level in Europe," he said. "And with the players Spurs are buying, they all want to be playing European football."

He added: "The chairman sold the club to me a couple of years ago. The way he sold it to me played a big part in me signing for them. You are always a bit sceptical of whether it will happen or not, but give the chairman credit, because he's been true to his word."

Robinson's team-mate Jermain Defoe is equally confident, although he admitted that he is finding it "difficult" to break into the England team. "I need a run of games," Defoe said, "but most importantly I need to be playing well for my club."

He will miss out tomorrow if England do deploy a 4-5-1 formation and admitted that his desire to score has, perhaps, affected people's perception of him. "When I play sometimes, it's not that I don't want to get involved, it's just that I always want to score goals," Defoe said. "I love running behind [defences] rather than coming short sometimes because I love scoring, but I'm young enough to learn and develop."