Robbie Robinson can be "really, really special," says Miami coach Phil Neville

Robbie Robinson’s performance in Inter Miami CF’s season-opening 3-2 loss to the LA Galaxy is just the tip of the iceberg, according to first-year coach Phil Neville. 

“We’ve been working so hard with Robbie. The boy’s got big potential,” Neville said after the match. “I think I said it to you guys in preseason. The boy’s getting confident, the boy’s got the belief of me, the trust of me, the trust and love from his teammates and I think that’s really important.”

The 22-year-old was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft after winning the 2019 MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded annually to college’s soccer’s top player. But his first season as a professional was disappointing, with four starts in just 12 appearances under former coach Diego Alonso.

Neville, who was hired in January, believes Robinson is on the potential journey to greatness if he continues to follow the same path. 

“You could see today a player that I think can go from strength to strength and we’re really, really pleased with his progress,” Neville said. “He knows the journey that he’s on, he knows what he’s got to do and he knows where he wants to go. And I think he knows this is just the start of something that could be really, really special for him if he really, really wanted it as hard as what we want it for him.”

Robinson’s first MLS goal came in first-half stoppage time. Gonzalo Higuain was played behind the LA Galaxy defense and squared a ball to Robinson for the tap-in. 

“It’s a team mindset. The group goes always above the individuals,” Higuain said through a translator. “Robbie was better positioned than myself and when the goalkeeper took the first step, I decided to give him the ball.”

Added Robinson: “Higuain got the ball, I made the run and he found me in the box. All I had to do was direct it into the goal. Yeah, I was able to score and it was a great feeling to be able to get my first goal in MLS.”