It’s been an impressive start to life under new manager Valerien Ismael for West Bromwich Albion, with Friday’s defeat at Stoke City their first loss in the Championship.
Ismael has his side playing a progressive and entertaining brand of football in the Midlands, and one player, in particular, appears to have benefitted more than most from the change in approach.
During his last campaign in English football’s second-tier, winger Callum Robinson managed just three goals and two assists in 16 appearances. This time around, though, he’s already matched that goal tally and added one more assist in six fewer outings.
The Republic of Ireland international started the season in emphatic fashion, bagging in each of West Brom’s opening three league fixtures as they raced to the top of the table.
His stunning strike against Bournemouth on the opening day drew praise from Sky Sports pundit and ex-Wolves striker Don Goodman, who lauded Robinson’s finish.
He said: “It’s as good as it gets isn’t it, the movement, the decision making, and ultimately the execution. It’s first class.
“Once the ball breaks to Matt Phillips, we speak about his ability to pick the right pass, he does. Alex Mowatt is onside, and he knows exactly where his teammate is.
“There’s work to be done when it arrives at Robinson’s right foot, but he gets the perfect contact and the perfect direction. It’s a wonderful goal, a wonderful finish,” Goodman concluded.
However, he hasn’t found the net since a 4-0 thrashing of Sheffield United on 18 August, a run spanning seven Championship fixtures.
Robinson did provide two vital assists in a 2-1 victory over Queens Park Rangers, though, but his lengthy drought in front of goal is starting to cause concern in some quarters.
With that in mind, it might be easier for Ismael to turn to someone like Grady Diangana, a player who also possesses lively qualities in the final third. That said, we think the Baggies manager should stick with the man ahead of him in the pecking order.
Despite his struggles, the £5.4m-rated gem does still have plenty of admirers, and Luke Hatfield, a journalist for the Express and Star, has recently spoken out in support of the skilful 26-year-old.
“Callum Robinson looks a different player to the one that we saw in the Premier League. He’s a really good player at this level and is someone that changes the way that Albion play,” he told GIVEMESPORT.
And the underlying numbers also point to Robinson’s healthy contribution towards West Brom’s success so far this term.
As per WhoScored, no Baggies player has bettered his tally of 2.5 shots per league game, while he has also racked up a healthy average of 0.8 key passes as well as topping the assists table.
Therefore, Ismael must keep faith in his stuttering attacking talent and continue to unleash him. Robinson could be West Brom’s game-changer against any opposition, providing the spark they need for an instant Premier League return.