Karl Robinson’s stock is at an all-time high after guiding MK Dons to automatic promotion into the Championship - and that is exactly what the United board are looking for.
Preferred formation: 4-2-3-1
Overall: P274 W130 (47%) D59 (22%) L85 (31%)
MK Dons: P274 W130 (47%) D59 (22%) L85 (31%)
Media-savvy with a hint of Scouse cheekiness, Karl Robinson is still only 34 yet has five seasons of experience as a manager behind him. A journeyman striker in non-league football, Robinson gained coaching experience at Liverpool’s Academy before being taken on by Blackburn and then followed Paul Ince to MK Dons. With Ince sacked, Robinson was chosen to take over, despite being just 30 at the time.
And his profile has only grown in that time, and positively so. It may have taken five seasons for him to get the Dons promoted but it has done his reputation no harm.
Part of that is his strong philosophy of passing football - something which will appeal to a Blades board looking for more positivity in their side’s play. MK Dons have arguably been League One’s best footballing sides since Robinson took over. Such a style has helped Robinson attract Premier League clubs into allowing their players out on loan to MK Dons. These clubs know their players are in good hands with Robinson. The likes of Patrick Bamford and Dele Alli have flourished under his leadership.
Despite the swift manner in which recent managers have been disposed of, the United board are keen for a long term sustainable approach to running the club, with an overarcing philosophy. Robinson could represent that given the unwavering nature in which he has approached the MK Dons project.
That is probably mainly down to Robinson himself. His five year project to get MK Dons out of League One is finally complete so the lure of at least one season in the Championship could prove too strong to resist and understandably so. Robinson has stuck with the Dons despite numerous clubs showing interest during his tenure.
But there also some questions to be asked of the man himself. The Dons have operated with decent budgets in League One for several years but it has taken Robinson a while to achieve the goal of promotion. His footballing philosophy is strong and would certainly win favour, but can it be put in place quickly. United want and need to win promotion next season. Does Robinson have what it takes to make an immediately successful impact?
Other names in the frame