KARL Robinson will be watching some England players with particular interest in the World Cup.

Oxford United’s boss is not looking to take any significant credit for the development of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dele Alli, citing the players’ natural talent and mental strength as the reason for their success.

But Robinson can legitimately claim to have had some influence on the careers of the duo, members of Gareth Southgate’s squad in Russia.

He has coached both players, albeit at very different stages of their lives, at Liverpool and Milton Keynes Dons respectively.

And the fact they could represent England on the biggest stage fills him with immense pride.

“I have known Trent since he was six,” he said.

“I remember him when he first came into the academy at Liverpool all those years ago.

“Now he’s in a World Cup squad – it’s amazing.

“And I have known Dele since he was 13 or 14 – so it’s quite exceptional to see where they are now.”

Robinson looks back with much satisfaction on his time in Liverpool’s academy, not least because of the talent that has emerged.

No fewer than three players who the U’s boss first worked with as six-year-olds on Merseyside have forged professional careers – one of whom is now reunited with Robinson at Oxf- ord.

“We signed Trent when he was a very young kid,” he said.

“I can still remember when he first came in – as a striker.

“It wasn’t me that changed his position though.

“Cameron Brannagan was also there (in the academy), as was Jordan Rossiter (now at Rangers). There was a few that went on to be so successful.”

He joked: “It shows you how good the coaching was!”

Although Robinson has not had direct contact with Alexander-Arnold for almost a decade, he is thrilled to see how much he has developed.

And he hopes he is given the chance to show the world what he can do, because United’s boss is convinced he would not let anybody down.

“Just to see him getting the accolades he is getting is great,” he said.

“I have not spoken to him for ten years.

“I have followed his progress of course, but I don’t live up there any more and our paths haven’t crossed.

“His mum was always very strong and I think Trent still lives at home with her.

“He will be fearless (if he gets the chance to play in the World Cup).

“That can be very good, but also a bit frightening. But I am thrilled for him.”