FORMER Welsh international Carl Robinson says he’s been struggling to come to terms with the death of his father.

The Hereford-based midfielder has, this week, returned to New York ahead of the Red Bulls’ Major League Soccer (MLS) season in March.

Robinson, 34, says he would speak to his dad, Phil, every day and after each match.

But Phil, a Llandrindod Wells Football Club legend, died after a sudden illness last autumn.

“My dad was my best friend and my hero,”

said Robinson, who splits his time between New York and Hereford.

“For him to suddenly not be there is something I still can’t get my head around.

“Four months down the line I still haven’t come to terms with it.

“I probably won’t ever get over it. I have to get it into my head that I will never see him or speak to him again.

“At the moment, it’s something that I can’t accept.

“But getting back into football will take my mind off it. It won’t take away the pain - that will never go.”

Robinson, a married father of two, had considered playing for Hereford United before his father’s death.

“Last year when I was in my final year in Toronto I had made a decision that I was going to come back to play in the UK.

“I spoke to people at Hereford. It was mentioned that, because my home base was in Hereford, would it be something of interest to me?

“I said I would mull over the idea but three weeks later my father passed away and the idea went off the radar.

“Things have moved on and I have decided to go over to New York and play for a further two years.”

Robinson enjoyed his Christmas in Herefordshire with his wife, Laura, eightyear- old daughter Lowri and two-yearold son Milo.

“One of the sacrifices when you play football in the UK is that you don’t get a Christmas or New Year break.

“I have been lucky because the MLS season ends in November.

But if you ask my wife, she would say that I have been watching football every night on TV instead.”

Robinson, who supports Manchester United, spent two years at Newtown School of Excellence before moving on to W o l v e r h a m p t o n Wanderers.

“The first day I signed my forms at Wolves someone told me ‘you will be here for two years but then you won’t be going any further because you’re too small, too shy and too quiet’.”

“I went into a room with my dad and cried my eyes out. My dad said: ‘Listen, life is about proving people wrong’. From that moment it stuck in my mind.

“A year later I turned professional and then six months after that I was in the Wolves first team. My dad’s words will stick me forever.”

The man who signed Robinson as a professional at Wolves is well known to Hereford United fans.

“Graham Turner signed me as a professional and I know Graham very well,”

said Robinson.

“I remember him inviting me up to the stadium to sign my forms. But Graham didn’t just come in to sign my forms.

“He spent an hour talking to me and my dad about football. It meant a lot to us and I have a lot of respect for him.”

Robinson played for Wolves in an FA Cup semi-final defeat to Arsenal. The Welshman was at Norwich when he chose to quit the English game.

“It was massive decision to go to Toronto,”

he said. “My last game in England was for Norwich against my first team Wolves.

“I remember flying out to meet the manager of Toronto and I just fancied something different.

“I had three years left on my deal at Norwich but I spoke to the manager and we came to an agreement where I could cancel my contract.

“Financially, I was worse off going to Canada but I wasn’t doing it for that. I wanted to give my two children a better life.”

After a successful spell in Toronto, the Welshman joined New York Red Bulls, USA, last March.

He is playing alongside former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry - and against ex- England skipper David Beckham, who is at LA Galaxy.

“It’s a bit surreal at times because I have got a place in New York which overlooks Manhattan,” said Robinson.

“You could easily get caught up in the lifestyle but I have a beautiful wife - we’ve been together for 17 years - and two gorgeous children.

“I am from a rural background in Llandrindod and I love Hereford - it’s a very old and pretty city.

“We have been in the Hereford area for three years and Hereford will be my home for a number of years to come.”

Robinson has just agreed a new two-year deal with New York Red Bulls. In addition to playing, he will be helping the reserveteam coach.

“I want to play football for as long as I can but I want to start my coaching career,” said Robinson.

“I have had help from the Welsh FA and I’ve been put through my Uefa A Licence.

“I have completed my B Licence so I am putting things in place while I am still playing the game.

“I keep an eye on the system over here and read the newspapers.

“My aim is to be a manager in the UK and I can’t be in the wilderness if a chance to coach or manage comes along.”

For more on Carl Robinson, visit ROBINSON ON FOOTBALL NEVER BURN YOUR BRIDGES CARL Robinson has urged all aspiring young footballers to avoid burning their bridges.

“If a manager decides that he doesn’t fancy you as a player, it’s not personal - it’s an opinion,”

said Robinson, who has played for 11 clubs.

“When I was 24 I joined Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth. Harry was a great guy and I was there for a year and played in the promotion season.

“After a year Harry decided to sign Tim Sherwood who was an England international.

Harry came up to me and said that I had been great for him and he really liked me as a player - but he didn’t need me.

“As a young lad, I found that hard and I thought I was going to stay and fight for my place. But, after two months of getting nowhere, I decided it was right to move. Harry helped me with the move and I respected him for being honest with me. If I had stayed there and not played for two years, I would have wasted two years of my career.”

He added: “All you can ask for is a bit of honesty.

Sometimes the truth hurts because no player wants to hear that they’re not wanted or they are not good enough.

But a player should never burn their bridges.”

TURNER’S UNITED SADNESS GRAHAM Turner will be distraught at Hereford’s lowly position in the Football League, according to Robinson “He had a number of great years at Hereford and he wouldn’t want to see Hereford struggle,”

said Robinson. “I don’t want to see any of my old clubs struggling. It’s not nice for the players, chairman or the fans.

“Graham’s main focus is on Shrewsbury - that’s what he’s now judged on. But I am sure Graham would want Shrewsbury to get promoted and Hereford to survive.

“You can’t ask Graham directly but, knowing him, he would want Hereford to do well.”

CAREER STATS International: 1999–2009: Wales 52 apps (1) goal Clubs: 1995–2002: Wolverhampton Wanderers 165 (19) 1996: Shrewsbury Town (loan) 4 (0) 2002–2004: Portsmouth 16 (0) 2003: Sheffield Wednesday (loan) 4 (1) 2003: Walsall (loan) 11 (1) 2003: Rotherham United (loan) 14 (0) 2004: Sheffield United (loan) 5 (0) 2004: Sunderland (loan) 7 (1) 2004–2006: Sunderland 45 (4) 2005–2006: Norwich City (loan) 7 (0) 2006–2007: Norwich City 42 (2) 2007–2010: Toronto FC 74 (3) 2010–present day: New York Red Bulls 10 (1)