Katie Robinson on ‘whirlwind journey’ from starting in WSL with Bristol City to Brighton and recent England debut | Football News
The 2022/23 season has been a breakout campaign for Katie Robinson. She has cemented herself as one of Brighton’s most important players and caught the eye of England boss Sarina Wiegman.
But just four and a half years ago, Robinson was still working her way through the Bristol City academy. It was in October 2018 that Tanya Oxtoby handed a then-16-year-old winger her debut against Birmingham.
It was the start of a meteoric rise for Robison, culminating in her England debut at the end of 2022.
Reflecting on her senior debut at Bristol City, Robinson said: “I hadn’t been at the club for long. I joined the academy in the summer and this was the October.
“It was my first time in the first-team squad and then I got my debut. I was quite shocked but it’s good to embed girls in at an early age because the quicker you get up to speed with first-team football, the better.”
After two seasons at the club and in the midst of Covid lockdowns, Robinson moved across the south of England to fellow WSL side Brighton under Hope Powell in July 2020.
But disaster struck just two months later when the winger sustained an ACL injury in training. A few months after her return, she went on loan to Women’s Championship side Charlton, which she credits with putting her in the position she is now.
“I really loved my time at Bristol City, it gave me a platform to get first-team exposure,” she said ahead of Wednesday’s WSL meeting with Chelsea, live on Sky Sports.
Wednesday 8th March 7:00pm
Kick off 7:30pm
“But the direction Brighton were going in, it was an exciting opportunity. It was just after Covid hit and I wanted a new opportunity. I don’t think I could have turned it down at the time.
“Initially, an ACL injury is a really hard thing to take when you realise what’s happened.
“Looking back on it now, it’s changed my perspective on a lot of things. Having no football for 12 months, taking the thing you love away, that was tough.
“But I grew to love the gym, I have a different perspective on that, and little things like that, it changes the way you think.
“Looking back, I’m really glad I went on loan at Charlton. I was struggling to get game time at Brighton, coming back from my ACL. I needed the confidence to go and play and get regular minutes.
“I’m so glad I did it because a year later, I’m in this position and that’s definitely down to that part of my journey as well because if I didn’t go on loan, I probably wouldn’t be where I am right now.”
On a personal level, Robinson is in the best form of her career so far in what has been a breakout season. The 20-year-old has played in all 11 WSL games for Brighton this season and her skill, speed and talent down the wings have been hugely impressive. She has registered her first WSL goals and assists too – two of each.
However, Brighton’s season as a whole has been a struggle. They are currently in 11th place, two points ahead of Leicester at the bottom of the table, and have already gone through two permanent managers.
Jens Scheuer replaced long-term boss Powell in late December, but just hours after Sky Sports’ interview with Robinson, the German boss left the club by mutual consent. He was in charge for just six games. Amy Merricks will once again take interim charge of the Seagulls, having also done so after Powell’s departure.
Scheuer’s six game in charge
- FA Cup: Brighton 5-0 Coventry United (Feb 26)
- WSL: Brighton 2-6 Aston Villa (Feb 12)
- WSL: Aston Villa 1-1 Brighton (Feb 4)
- FA Cup: West Brom 0-7 Brighton (Jan 29)
- League Cup: Brighton 0-0 West Ham (Jan 18)
- WSL: Leicester 3-0 Brighton (Jan 15)
But one thing will not have changed – Robinson will keep going as she has been in recent months and hopes to reap the rewards come the end of the season.
“I’ve definitely put my name out there a bit more this season, with a few goals and assists and contributions,” she added.
“It’s nice to get the recognition and England are seeing that as well, which is nice. It’s something I wasn’t expecting. I’ve just got to keep my head down and keep going for the next few months.”
Robinson also represents the next generation of talent coming through for the Lionesses at senior level – the first wave since the Euro 2022 triumph last summer.
She has now been involved in two international camps, earning three caps and made her first start for England last month when they played Italy in the Arnold Clark Cup. She was England’s player of the match in that game, providing her first senior international assist for Rachel Daly’s opening goal.
Katie Robinson on facing Chelsea, live on Sky Sports…
“There’s no doubt that it’s going to be a really hard game for us, but we’ve got a good history against Chelsea.
“We’re under no illusions that we’re not going to have a lot of the ball, but when we do get it, how do we hurt them? We’ll identify that and we know the spaces we can cause them problems in.
“We’ve also got to try and defend well, that’s the main thing.”
With a World Cup on the horizon, Robinson is being spoken about as a possible surprise inclusion in Wiegman’s squad for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
But the 20-year-old is not thinking too far ahead. As she mentioned earlier, keeping focused on the task at hand is her priority.
When discussing the World Cup squad, Robinson replied: “It’s something I try not to think about because it’s quite far away and it’s certainly not going to be an easy thing to get into, that’s for sure.
“I’ve just got to keep my head down, keep playing well, show what I can do. You never know, you can’t rule it out, but I’m trying not to think of that. I’m very young, this is all very new to me, I’ve only just got in the first-team set-up so it would be amazing, but I’ve got to keep my head down.
“The U23s that England have put into place was a great thing because it gave players like me the chance to get noticed by England. There’s quite a big jump in quality in the training with the first team, it’s unbelievable. I’ve loved my time so far and Sarina is great to work with.
“To go into that team after the Euros is really exciting. These are European champions, they’re amazing players so it’s a privilege to be amongst them. I’m taking each camp as it comes, if it does, and trying to make the most out of it.
“I wasn’t expecting to get that amount of minutes [against Italy]. But I loved it, I had my family there, 30,000 people in the crowd – I’d never played with that many people before – and I really enjoyed the game.
“I was nervous beforehand, which is natural, but once I got going, I loved it. Playing with such good players, you know you’re going to get great service. With my assist, it was nice to get that for Rachel.”
With all that she has achieved so far and watching her with a ball at her feet, it’s hard to believe that Robinson is just 20 years old. With hopefully many more footballing years ahead of her, fans and Robinson herself must be excited for what is to come.
Watch Chelsea Women vs Brighton Women live on Sky Sports Football on Wednesday; kick-off 7.30pm.