Jack Robinson was critical of Martin O’Neill’s selection policy and seemingly of the Forest manager’s tenure in recent comments made to the media, and O’Neill may have responded by axing the defender from the matchday squad entirely.
Robinson was a surprise omission against Sheffield United on Friday and there has been no official report from Forest suggesting he was injured. Jack Colback started at left-back and many believe what Robinson said has directly led to the tactical decision.
He told Nottinghamshire Live at the time: “It has been a disappointing end to the season. Since January, it has been pretty disappointing.” O’Neill replaced Aitor Karanka as Forest manager on January 15, so Robinson’s comments about poor form coincide with the change in manager – a point that clearly wasn’t lost on O’Neill.
Since joining on a free transfer from Queens Park Rangers, Robinson had been a regular for Forest – making the matchday squad in 39 of the Reds’ 43 Championship outings. But his future may now be uncertain under O’Neill, especially if the 25-year-old is left out against Middlesbrough on April 22.
Robinson’s comments may have been a thinly-veiled criticism of O’Neill, but the statistics do back up his argument. At the time of Karanka’s departure, Forest were seventh in the Championship and only four points adrift of the playoffs with a game in hand. But if the season started when O’Neill arrived, the Reds would be 16th in the table with 18 points from 16 games.
Whether Robinson has been dropped for the comments he made remains to be seen, but O’Neill’s treatment of him has certainly been odd.