Ince makes case for Robinson

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The Independent Online

Blackburn manager Paul Ince has urged Fabio Capello to recall goalkeeper Paul Robinson to the England team for the friendly against Germany a week tomorrow.

Ince believes the fixture in Berlin is the ideal stage for his £3.5million summer signing from Tottenham to showcase his skills.

Robinson, 29, has yet to start under Capello, having been replaced as number one by Portsmouth's David James, but was impressive in the defeat by Chelsea on Sunday.

Ince said: "I think he deserves a chance. It is a friendly, so why not? I know David James has the shirt but since Robbo came here, he has been outstanding. It was a great bit of business bringing him in. As far as I am concerned, he is the best goalkeeper in the league - and he can get better.

"He had a lack of confidence at Tottenham due to not playing. He wanted a fresh start and he has his head screwed on. He is really focused on his job and you can see that in his performances."

Ince believes Robinson's renaissance is down to his day-to-day work with goalkeeping coach Bobby Mimms.

"It is important for a goalkeeper to get on with a goalkeeping coach and they get on really well. They are good mates," said the Blackburn boss. "Paul loves coming into training every day and loves what he is doing. You can see that on the pitch."

Meanwhile, Ince has championed Roy Keane as "a leader of men" and backed his former Manchester United team-mate to turn Sunderland's fortunes around.

The two men come face to face tomorrow in the Carling Cup fourth-round tie at the Stadium of Light, and Ince is looking forward to the reunion.

It is a welcome diversion from the Barclays Premier League for both teams, who are finding it hard to get points.

"I am not surprised Roy went into management," Ince said. "We had a great partnership at United. He was a fantastic player and we had some good times together. He was always a leader of men.

"I wish him all the success in the world. He is a young manager learning his trade, just like me. He has spent a few quid at Sunderland and it is still a struggle for him. It just shows you how competitive the league is. But he needs time as he is trying to build something there. He will need three or four years to get to where he wants. We want to be in the same boat."

Ince is indebted to Keane for the encouragement he gave him when he was starting out in management at League Two side Macclesfield.

They were adrift at the foot of the table when he arrived but he managed to keep them in the league before moving to MK Dons and securing promotion.

Ince said: "When I was at Macclesfield and we were the 92nd team in the league, he was the one who was always ringing me up and texting me, saying, 'Good luck, I hope you get a result'. I repaid that favour when he was in the Championship with Sunderland, so we've had that relationship for years."

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