- Began his career under Terry Venables at Leeds United
- Signed for Spurs in 2004, made 175 appearances between 2004-08
- Scored against Watford in March, 2007
- League Cup winner in 2008
- Moved to Blackburn in 2008 and finished career at Burnley, 2015-2017
- Capped 41 times by England, 37 during his time at Spurs
- Now 37, forced to retire through injury in the summer
You spent the last 18 months of your career at Burnley and last season, they were fully six points clear of any relegation trouble on their return to the Premier League - what’s the secret at Turf Moor?
Robbo: “It’s about team spirit and togetherness. On paper, especially financially, we were miles behind some of the other clubs, which is probably why people wrote us off. However, the way manager Sean Dyche and his staff work, his recruitment policy and the type of player he brings in - he knows exactly the type of player he wants and therefore the players who come to Burnley are well drilled as to what is expected of them. The manager is not one to mess around too much with playing systems, he’ll play one or two ways, mixing up the football. It’s not passing for passing sake. If you play a direct pass, it’s a pass with a purpose. They have a style that everyone understands and when a player comes in, he will know his job exactly.”
Below: Sean Dyche
What can you tell us about Sean Dyche?
Robbo: “As a player, all you want from a manager is honesty and whether or not you want to hear what he’s got to say, he will say it to you. He’s very honest, tactically aware and very knowledgeable about the game.”
What about Tom Heaton, such a highly-rated goalkeeper and this summer’s arrivals to Turf Moor?
Robbo: “Tom is one of the nicest, hard-working, honest lads that I’ve ever worked with and one of the best. He deserves everything he gets. I genuinely believe he has more to come because in goalkeeping terms, he’s not old (31) and there is more potential for him to fulfil. We hit it off and got on really well. The manager wanted me to do another year and if it wasn’t for my back injury I would have done that because I really enjoyed being amongst the goalkeepers and mentoring Tom. His biggest strength is his all-round game and his shot-stopping. He works so hard at his game and he made the most saves of any goalkeeper in the Premier League last season - he probably won the team 15 points. In terms of the arrivals, the likes of Jack Cork, Jon Walters, Phil Bardsley - these are hard-working, honest professionals who know the Premier League. You know exactly what you will get from all of them and that’s an example of the manager’s recruitment.”
Below: Tom Heaton
Tactically, how do you think Burnley will approach this game at Wembley?
Robbo: “The thing about Burnley is they don’t really care about who they are playing, Sean Dyche will set up against Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal the same as he would against anyone else in the Premier League. The players will turn up and give everything, and that’s what he wants. At times, that’s not good enough and they will fall short, but often it’s more than enough. He had success at Chelsea on the first day of the season playing a 4-5-1 system, solid in midfield, Robbie Brady out wide, three in the centre including Steven Defour and Jeff Hendrick and they had that successful result. The manager is very loyal and played the same team last weekend at home against West Brom and that didn’t really work out. I think you’ll see the 4-5-1 system again against Spurs, maybe with more of an attacking emphasis.”
Below: Magic moment - Robbo with the League Cup in 2008
Finally, what are your thoughts on the class of 2017 at Spurs, nine years after you left us?
Robbo: “I’ve got to say, Spurs were best team we saw at Turf Moor last season by a stretch. The balance is right. There is a real impetus at the Club, the new stadium is on the way and I see no reason why the team shouldn’t be challenging every season.”