THERE is probably a good reason why Paul Robinson has been reluctant to talk about England ever since he joined Blackburn Rovers.

He could see yesterday coming.

In the end, Robinson’s exclusion from England’s provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup was predictable.

Fabio Capello was clearly looking elsewhere, and Robinson knew it.

The Rovers keeper could have done no more to earn a place on the plane to South Africa.

He has been among the league’s most consistent stoppers this season, after a solid enough debut campaign at Ewood a year ago.

In contrast, Capello’s number one Robert Green has appeared shaky in a poor season for West Ham.

A different manager, with different thoughts, could easily have installed Robinson as his number one this summer with David James plagued by injury and Joe Hart still inexperienced. But the writing has been on the wall for some time now.

Robinson’s downfall with England clearly hurt him.

The criticism he received after Euro 2008 qualifying defeats in Croatia and Russia - the former for a phantom bobble he could do little about, the latter for a mistake that has seen him never play for England since - must have taken its toll.

Robinson was both friendly and forthcoming when he sat down for an interview at Rovers’ Brockhall training ground a year ago, but the guard went up when the subject turned to England.

“Do you know what? I’ve not even thought about it really,” he said.

“If it happens, it happens.”

This was the brave face, the understandable way of dealing with it.

Robinson is both proud enough not to plead for selection and professional enough not to criticise Capello’s snub.

He has been called up since, making the bench for a qualifier in Kazakhstan last summer, but his withdrawal from the squad to face Ukraine in October because of injury appears to have been his last chance.

Some might retire in a huff at this point, but that would be the wrong thing to do. If the 30-year-old keeps performing well for Rovers, surely some day he will get his chance again.

It is a chance that should already have arrived.