Callum Robinson: Republic striker says team-mates were 'there for me' after vaccination comments

Robinson and Republic players celebrate
Robinson celebrates with his Republic of Ireland team-mates during the 4-0 win friendly win over Qatar

Callum Robinson says his Republic of Ireland team-mates "have been there for me" as he capped a "crazy week" with a hat-trick against Qatar.

The West Brom striker sparked debate after revealing he has opted not to receive a Covid-19 vaccination.

Robinson has not let that affect him as he took his goal tally to five in two games against Azerbaijan and Qatar.

"It's been a crazy week for me, but I'm really happy to finish it off with a few goals," the 26-year-old told RTE.

Robinson, whose treble against World Cup hosts Qatar sealed a 4-0 friendly win in Dublin, added: "It's nice to win back home. It felt good, all the fans came out and it was a great night."

Speaking before the Republic's World Cup qualifying dead rubber against Azerbaijan in Baku, Robinson had said remaining unvaccinated is "my choice at this moment in time", before adding he could change his mind in the future.

While Robinson's revelations attracted criticism from some, Republic boss Stephen Kenny and defender John Egan, who captained the side in Azerbaijan, defended the frontman's stance.

Robinson, who became the first player to score a Republic hat-trick since Robbie Keane in 2014, welcomed the support of the squad.

"They have been there for me all week, obviously with what went on in the Press, that's what we're about - we stick together," he said.

"I'd be the same if it were one of my team-mates, they were there for me all week. You could see by the way I was playing, nothing was in my head, I just wanted to get the two results and that's what we've done."

Robinson and Kenny
Kenny admitted Robinson's five-goal haul against Azerbaijan and Qatar exceeded his own expectations

Robinson has missed several international games during Kenny's tenure, including triple-headers in November and August after twice testing positive for coronavirus.

However, Kenny hailed the player's five-goal burst over the last week - and said he will be an important player for his country in the near future.

"I felt for a while that Callum could be very important for us," said Kenny, also speaking to RTE.

"We've missed him. He's missed a lot of games, but I couldn't have predicted he'd get five in two games. It's an incredible return really.

"He's going to be an important player for us now, over the next couple of years.

"We want him to flourish, enjoy his football and bring joy to the team."

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