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Former Wolves man Carl Robinson fired up to change Jets’ fortunes

Carl Robinson is proving to be a hit Down Under after his 'winning mentality' transformed the fortunes of Australian side Newcastle Jets.

Carl Robinson
Carl Robinson

The 43-year-old former Wolves midfielder and Shrewsbury Town took over at the A-League strugglers in February, having made the step up from Canada where he was player-coach at New York Red Bulls before joining Vancouver Whitecaps, initially as an assistant before taking the manager's job.

When he joined the Jets, they were bottom of the A-League table, but Robinson has overseen a transformation on the field after taking over following the sacking of Ernie Merrick.

Under the highly-rated Welshman the Jets have won four and drawn two of their last seven matches, before the season was halted early due to the coronaviras crisis.

And Northern Irish import Bobby Burns says the Jets have been revitalised by the influence of the new head coach Robinson.

Burns, who joined Newcastle on loan from Scottish Premiership side Hearts last year, put the turnaround down to the approach of the former Wales international.

“He hasn’t changed too many things," said Burns. "Obviously most of the same coaching staff are still there, but it’s just the different intensity and the winning mentality he has brought in.

“We’ve worked a lot more on our shape and on our conditioning. It’s great. We’ve all been doing a lot of learning.

“It’s intense at times but everyday you go into training and feel like you leave the pitch feeling you’ve improved on what you were before.

“Obviously whenever a new manager comes in it’s great if you can start off with a few good results; it gives you a bit of momentum.”

Robinson changed the Jets formation from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-4-1-2, with Burns being deployed in a different position at left wing-back.

The 20-year-old has thrived in his new role and added: “I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a real good year of learning.

“It was obviously disappointing at the start of the season, we probably didn’t pick up some of the points we deserved. The injuries have killed us at some points. In key games not having those key players has hurt us.

“But the last two months have been brilliant. The performances have been great and we’ve started to pick up a lot of points.

“There’s been a lot of change but it’s been good, I’ve learned a lot. Carl Robinson has been great with us. He’s very intense, he does a lot of good coaching with us, plenty of advice.

"I’m just learning and playing a slightly different position in left wing-back.

“It’s been good for me just playing a different style of play that I’m used to back home, where there’s more long balls and physicality.

"Here it’s more tactical, getting the ball down and I’m enjoying that adaption."

Robinson admitted he was living the dream in Australia after being sacked by a Vancouver side he led to the MFL play-offs in three of his four years in charge – and they ended up rock bottom the year after he was axed.

"The opportunity was too good to turn down," said Robinson on re-locating to the southern hemisphere.

"Myself and my family are looking forward to playing a huge part in the continued growth of football in this area.

"Everything I have seen about the club so far has been top class, they are desperate for success and hopefully, we can achieve that together."

And Robinson isn't the only former Wolves player enjoying his role in the dug-out Down Under with Kenny Miller also admitting he is loving his new life in Australia with Newcastle Jets.

Miller said the the opportunity to work with one of the best up-and-coming young bosses in the business was too good a chance to miss.

Robinson had Miller as a player when he was working miracles at Vancouver Whitecaps, with Miller jumping at the chance to become Robinson’s right-hand man.

He said: “Robbo is top notch. I obviously knew beforehand how good the manager was, having worked with him at Vancouver six years ago when he was really just starting out in management.

“But being beside him now has shown me how he has moved on even further."

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