March 13, 2007 Toronto FC Globe & Mail interviews Carl Robinson (from Globe And Mail)

POSTED ON: 13/03/07

‘New challenge' brings Robinson to MLS

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

BRADENTON, FLA. — Midfielder Carl Robinson has been training with Toronto FC during a two-week stint at the IMG Soccer Academy complex, but after this phase ends Friday and the team departs for South Carolina, he'll be on his way again.

Robinson has been named to the Wales team that is playing in two Euro 2008 qualifiers against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on March 24, and against San Marino in Cardiff on March 28.

His time in Florida has been his first training sessions with the first-year Major League Soccer club. He was signed from Norwich City of England's League Championship, one notch below the Premiership, this year.

The signing was announced on Feb. 1 and five days later, Robinson was earning his 36th cap for Wales in a 0-0 friendly against Northern Ireland. Toronto FC head coach Mo Johnston said the midfielder could take a week or two to rest after that match before joining his new team.

"I kept myself fit over there," Robinson said. "I only had a two-week break. I had an international game against Northern Ireland and I go back for two more international games. When it comes to the start of the [MLS] season, I'll be fine."

After a two-week break, he trained for a week with Norwich City before joining Toronto FC. The 30-year-old had an earlier chance to join the MLS when Johnston coached in New York, but he decided to stay in England. When Johnston offered this time, he accepted.

"I wanted a new challenge," Robinson said. "I've always wanted to play in the MLS. Two years ago at Sunderland, we won promotion to the Premiership and there was an opportunity that I could go to New York when Mo was there.

"Because we got to the Premiership it was a hard decision for me. I was offered a new contract and decided to stay at the time. Two years down the line, I got the opportunity again to join Mo with Toronto and I didn't want to turn it down the second time. I've known Mo for three or four years since he was coaching in New York.

"He comes across as an honest bloke who wants to win and that's what sold it to me."

Robinson is a central midfield player who likes to pass the ball and direct the action.

"I like to sit in the middle of the pack and pass the ball whether it's short or long," he said. "I like to organize things and get people around me into position. I'm a firm believer if you get people in the right position, it saves you running 40 yards rather than running 10 yards.

"The players that [Johnston] had here and the plans he had for the team, I just wanted to be part of it."

Robinson left Wales at 16 to play for the Wolverhampton Wanderers as a trainee.

He also played for Shrewsbury Town, Portsmouth, Sheffield Wednesday, Walsall, Rotherham United, Sheffield United and Sunderland before joining Norwich City.

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