Sunderland midfielder gives verdict on his loan move as former striker continues to thrive
Ethan Robson says he hopes his loan stint at Dundee will stand him in good stead for next season.
The 22-year-old had been set to be a big part of the squad under Jack Ross this season but suffered a string of frustrating injuries.
Grant Leadbitter's January arrival left him facing an uphill battle to get into the Sunderland squad and so a short-term move to Dundee was organised.
Injury has checked his progress again, but he returned to the squad on Saturday and with games against Hibernian, Rangers, Hearts and Celtic on the horizon, he is hpping to make his mark.
“I’m hoping to get some more experience and first-team games under my belt,” Robson told safc.com.
“The chance to play in some big games was obviously a big draw because it’s been difficult so far this season having been injured.
“Hopefully the experience will and stand me in good stead for the rest of my career and importantly next season.
“I’m looking to play as much as I can now for the rest of season as I have been very unlucky with injuries.
“I know how important it is to be playing men’s football at this stage of my career - it’s what I want to be doing and I can only benefit from it.
“Having spoken to the gaffer [Jack Ross], Potts [John Potter] and Fowl [James Fowler] about loan moves, we agreed this would be a good move for me. There’s a lot of important games coming up in Dundee’s schedule so it will be a great experience."
Ross insisted after the youngsters departure that he thinks both Robson and Elliot Embleton, thriving on loan at Grimsby Town, can play a big part next season.
"I said to him that I thought he would get an opportunity before the end of the season but I couldn't guarantee it," Ross said.
"I like him so much and think he's so different, got but he's missed the bulk of what we've done this season through injury.
"It's been disappointing because if you look, he's never really had an injury problem before. I think it's a good move, they've got some big games and they're in a tough position.
"With Ethan and Elliot [Embleton], I'm hoping I get two midfielders next season.
"I hope it goes well for him because I really do like him."
Robson is playing alongside a familiar face in Andrew Nelson, who joined the Scottish club in a permanent deal last month.
“It’s been good so far and I’m really enjoying being up there with Andrew Nelson," Robson said.
"All the lads have been great with me and I’m really looking forward to the challenge ahead.”
Nelson has been in very good form, scoring four goals in four league games.
Ross admitted that letting the 21-year-old go was a risk but said he owed it to the youngster to give him a proper opportunity to forge a career in the game.
"I think for Andrew, he had the injury last season so when he came in pre-season he was a good bit behind in terms of where I think he needed to be in terms of his fitness levels,” Ross said.
“Although he was involved with us in pre-season he was still way off what we needed him to be at.
“He then picked up that horrible injury at Hartlepool, and that took a long time to sort out properly.
"We were then very much into the nuts and bolts of our season so he had to go out to get some game time [at Darlington].
“Then you have to weigh it up.
“He’s 21 now, he needs to be playing football and progressing his career.
“The opportunity there for him was sensible to pursue.
"As a club, you could keep all of your young players because then you take out any risk of anything coming back to bite you,” he added.
“But that doesn’t help those young players and it is selfish of us to do that.
“If I felt he was at a stage where he could come in and really help us as a player, then I would have done that.
"That’s not to say I don’t think he’s a good player, I just think where we’re at, this was the best solution for all parties.
“I think he would agree with that, he’s young but not that young in terms of football.
“I know what his attitude is like and so I know that he’ll go up there to make the most of the opportunity at Dundee.”