Blades closing on Callum Robinson

Callum Robinson at Turner’s Cross this week for the Cork Airport Friendly between Preston North End and Cork City. Picture: Inpho/Laszlo Geczo.

By Stephen Barry and Martin Claffey

Newly-promoted Sheffield United are closing on a €6.6m move for Ireland international striker Callum Robinson.

Preston, who have been training at Fota Island in Cork this week, confirmed yesterday they have accepted a bid from a Premier League club for striker Robinson. The Championship side did not name the club involved.

Robinson, 24, scored 13 goals in 36 appearances for Preston last season.

A statement on their website read:

“The player has been given permission to leave the team’s Irish training camp in order to discuss personal terms and undertake a medical ahead of a proposed move. There will be no further comment at this time.”

It is believed the Blades are the side leading the chase for Robinson. Speaking from the Sheffield club’s training camp in the Algarve, Blades boss Chris Wilder told Sheffield’s The Star newspaper: “We’re deep in negotiation with four or five players. It has ramped-up. It’s been tireless. If we get them great. If not, we move on.

I know people want to see new players in the shirt but the situation is we’re working really hard and we’re really confident we can add to the group. We know we have to. We’re close.

Sheffield United’s squad already contains Irish senior internationals David McGoldrick and John Egan.

Meanwhile Ireland U21 boss Stephen Kenny has said Jack Grealish and Declan Rice would still be playing for the Republic of Ireland but for weak relationships between former manager Martin O’Neill and underage coaches.

The current Ireland U21 manager, who will take over from Mick McCarthy as senior manager after the Euro 2020 campaign, has criticised the failure to integrate the best young players, including those of dual nationality, into the senior squad much earlier.

Grealish and Rice, who both represented Ireland at various levels, decided to turn down the green jersey during O’Neill’s time in charge.

“I know this is subjective and slightly controversial but if there was a better relationship at the time between under-15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and senior managers, you’d feel that both Jack Grealish and Declan Rice would definitely be playing for Ireland now because they would have been fast-tracked earlier and into the first-team,” Kenny told Eamon Dunphy on The Stand podcast.

“[We should’ve integrated them] earlier. Jack Grealish is an outstanding player, you wouldn’t have had to be a genius to work that out. It needs a coordinated approach between the managers.

"We must be one unit rather than a series of individuals. To be fair to Mick McCarthy, we meet once a month with all the managers and he’s in contact with myself, Tom Mohan, Colin O’Brien, Andy Reid, Paul Osam, and Jason O’Donoghue, and Ruud Dokter, the technical director.”

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