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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 October 2006, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
Keepers give backing to Robinson
Pat Jennings, Paul Robinson and Dave Beasant
Jennings (left) and Beasant (right) offer support to Robinson
Pat Jennings and Dave Beasant have backed Paul Robinson after the England keeper was criticised over Croatia's second goal in the Euro 2008 qualifier.

His mis-kick at Gary Neville's backpass gave Croatia a 2-0 win but Tottenham and Arsenal legend Jennings said: "There wasn't much he could have done.

"What could he do if the ball hits a divot and bounces over his foot?"

Ex-England keeper Beasant added: "It hit a raised divot the other keeper made for taking his goal-kicks."

Robinson has come under fire for the error in Zagreb.

But two members of the unofficial goalkeepers' union have been quick to add their support to the Tottenham keeper, who ironically was also voted man of the match for a string of saves that kept England in the game.

Tottenham goalkeeping coach Jennings had retired long before the current rules came into force and in his day keepers were allowed to pick up backpasses.

But the keeper, who won 119 caps for Northern Ireland between 1964 and 1986, had sympathy for Robinson.

Jennings said: "We all know the game, if the ball pops up suddenly like that few goalkeepers would have done anything about it.

"Paul has cleared his lines thousands of times, so you have to make allowances for the ball bobbling over his foot in such circumstances.

England keeper Paul Robinson
Paul Robinson looks back in anger at the offending divot

"It was made to look more glaring because, as all keepers know, there is nobody behind to clear up any mistakes.

"But I wouldn't put it down as a mistake, it was just a piece of very bad luck."

Jennings' views were echoed by Beasant, who won two England caps.

Beasant questioned the wisdom of the backpass on the Maksimir Stadium pitch from Gary Neville, who was credited with an own goal.

Fulham and Northern Ireland goalkeeping coach Beasant said: "It's an unwritten rule that you don't pass the ball back on the goal.

"Although Gary wouldn't have meant for the ball to go in, it means one bad bobble and it's a goal.

"The ball hit the divot raised by the other keeper for taking his goal-kicks and it's always more of a risk when the pitches are cutting up and it has been raining.

It's typical of goalkeeping, you tend to be remembered for mistakes

Former England keeper Peter Shilton

"A pass back on a surface like that immediately puts you under pressure and, in the end, it was a culmination of misfortune."

Another former England keeper, Peter Shilton, gave his backing to Robinson.

Shilton, who made 125 appearances for his country, said: "You're judged more as a keeper on your mistakes than on your saves.

"He made some tremendous saves in the game and it would be very unfair to just point the finger at him.

"It's typical of goalkeeping, you tend to be remembered for mistakes.

"Obviously, from his point of view to say he was England's best player is a bit of a detriment to other players because it was not a terrific team performance by any means."

Tottenham boss Martin Jol added to the chorus of support for Robinson and insisted he is still England's best goalkeeper.

Jol said: "Why do you think he's the number one in England? It's because he's a tough lad.

"He trains hard, he knows you need a good mentality to be the number one in England.

"It wasn't a mistake, you could judge him harshly and say it was a silly situation.

"It was a freak moment, all the top players will tell you they have similar moments."

SEE ALSO
McClaren shoulders blame for loss
11 Oct 06 |  Internationals
Croatia 2-0 England
11 Oct 06 |  Internationals
McClaren's new era exposed
11 Oct 06 |  Football
BBC pundits on England
11 Oct 06 |  Internationals
FA concerned at fans' treatment
11 Oct 06 |  Internationals
McClaren opts to switch formation
11 Oct 06 |  Internationals


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