Hailing from Noida, Uttar Pradesh, Robin Singh was crazy about both Cricket and Football. Robin was more inclined towards Cricket in his formative years, as he started getting coached professionally at the age of 9. But selection into the UT Sports department to play for the Chandigarh Football Academy at the age of 13 changed that. Singh honed his skills and sharpened his crossing, first at Chandigarh football academy and later in the famed Tata Football Academy at the age of 15.
Robin had played as a winger all his life until that point. At Tata Football Academy in Jamshedpur, he was converted into an out an out striker, utilising his fast pace to beat the offside trap as well as to stretch the game, bringing in the deep lying midfielder into attacking position by stretching the defence.
Robin was at the Tata FA till one IFA Shield match changed his career
Robin was a part of the Academy till the age of 19, going to train with a UAE Pro league Club as well as Mel Eves in England for a year. When Robin signed his first professional contract, he did it by shattering a long standing record and by humiliating his suitors. It was an IFA Shield match between the Tata FA and East Bengal and Robin took the game by the scruff of the neck and completely dominated the opponents who were way out of the league of a Football Academy.
He scored a brace and knocked East Bengal out of the tournament, which was their quickest exit in the history of the tournament. This prompted East Bengal to shell out Rs.50 Lakhs on a two year contract for Robin. Robin helped East Bengal to the smaller cup trophies like the Jubilee Cup and in the Bengal Derby, playing in the Calcutta Football League, he scored a brace to ensure East Bengal were the winners of the local league.
Robin has donned the East Bengal jersey for four years, including a loan move
He scored his first professional goal for East Bengal against Pailan Arrows, scoring two in that match at the legendary Salt Lake Stadium to maul them 4-0. While Singh showed a lot of promise, he was more of a creator and runner than a out and out striker. 13 goals in 64 appearances for East Bengal back that fact. While his performances were solid, he was not scoring enough to warrant a starting position as a striker. 25 August 2012 was a big day for Robin, who, after playing at every youth level for the country, made his senior team debut against Maldives in the 2012 Nehru Cup. India went on to win the Nehru Cup, beating Cameroon’s B team 5-4 on penalties.
After spending three seasons at East Bengal, winning two Federation Cup titles, Robin was also swept by the Bengaluru wave as he joined the new direct-entry team. He played the first six matches for the club as a substitute, coming off the bench in every single match. Robin played a total of 24 games for Bengaluru, scoring 7 goals. Not a bad return, considering that he was an impact substitute in most of the matches. Bengaluru went on to win the I-League in just their first season in the I-League. It was a successful season for Robin and Bengaluru.
Robin was a part of the star studded Bengaluru squad in their inaugural season in the I-League
He was caught in the crossfire of the refusal to send players on loan controversy during the first season of the ISL and hence could not feature in the tournament. But that did not affect his form and fitness as he banged in 9 goals in 32 appearances, again playing as an impact substitute in most of the matches. It was a brilliant return but given how strong the Bengaluru lineup was, with the likes of Sean Rooney, C.K Vineeth and Sunil Chhetri, Robin was finding it difficult to break into the first team.
But he did enough to warrant a suitor for the second season of the ISL, after the controversy of player ownership was sorted out. Playing for Delhi Dynamos in his first season, Robin scored 5 in 12 outings. It was a solid return by an Indian player in the ISL, especially since it was his first season in the ISL. This was when his career suffered a setback. Robin suffered ACL injury when on International duty in the SAFF Cup. This kept him out for over a year as he could not even walk for months.
Robin was the star frontman for Delhi Dynamos, brilliantly holding play up and scoring crucial goals
He was in brilliant form, especially for his country, scoring three goals that year for India, including a brace against Sri Lanka in the SAFF Championship. As a result of his injury, Robin was relieved from his services by Delhi Dynamos, but FC Goa showed their faith in the Noida lad and snapped him up for the third season of the ever growing ISL. Robin could not continue his progress and the injury had had a major affect on his confidence as he could only score a single goal against the NorthEast United FC.
FC Goa sent Robin on loan to East Bengal, where in his second stint, he scored 5 goals in 14 League appearances, a solid return from a really long term injury. It was a decent return and Robin was clearly ready to be a part of the new 10 teamed ISL. He’s 27 years old and at the peak of his powers, both physically and mentally. IF Robin could convert his immense potential into real end product in this upcoming ISL, he could really cement his place in the Indian National team, currently held by Jeje and Chhetri.
Robin is at his peak both physically and mentally and has to stay fit in order to truly realise his potential
Excerpts from Robin’s interview with goal.com:
On his ouster from the Chandigarh FA:
“Being at Chandigarh Football Academy was a great learning experience for me, I was told that my skills weren't enough for a professional player. When my never-give-up attitude kicked in, I moved to Tata Football Academy (TFA) where I trained for four years. I am grateful for the belief they showed in me. I credit Ranjan sir (Ranjan Choudhury) and Vijay Sir (Vijay Kumar) for their constant support. Signing with East Bengal was definitely a confidence booster for me. Though the experience was short and sweet, it added a lot to me professionally and at that time the offer given to me was the biggest for my career. I would like to thank them for it” Talking about his idols: “Cristiano Ronaldo is a player I look upto purely because of the hard work and effort he has put in. I would never say that I am him, but nothing in life for me has come easy. I've put in hours of hard work to get where I am today and the effort is immense though I don’t talk about it much. I admire Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) for his confidence”
On his attitude coming off as arrogance:
“I don’t know what a flamboyant personality means but what I know is that I am a positive person and before anyone else, you have to believe in yourself ”