It was a big call for Callum Robinson to drop down back to the Championship in January. He is a player who fought for many years to return to the Premier League having failed to make the grade at Aston Villa earlier in the decade.
His season at Preston during the 18/19 campaign, while somewhat hampered by injuries, was very impressive. He notched 12 goals and three assists in 27 league appearances, meaning there was no shortage of interest in his services last summer.
He ultimately opted for a move to Sheffield United, with Chris Wilder dropping a then club record fee on the Ireland international.
Hopes were high that Robinson could translate that form to the Premier League, but it has only arrived in flashes. He began the season as first choice, but his playing time slowly dissipated as the weeks went by.
There were some highs, including a memorable goal at Stamford Bridge to complete a two goal comeback and secure a draw. Still, it was becoming clear that he would not get as much playing time at Bramall Lane as he would have hoped.
Sheffield United were happy to keep the forward for the remainder of the season, even with a number of clubs interested in taking Robinson on loan. The decision would ultimately coming down to the player himself.
While many would be unwilling to swallow their pride and move down a division in order to seek more minutes, Robinson didn't have that issue. It may have helped that the club he was moving to currently sit top of the Championship.
Few could argue with his decision up to this point. The Irishman has been hugely impressive in at The Hawthorns thus far, earning rave reviews over his first four games. That run was capped with a goal and man-of-the-match performance in the draw against Nottingham Forest yesterday.
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) February 15, 2020
— Callum Robinson (@CallumRobinson7) February 16, 2020
Could other Ireland internationals learn from his example?
It would have been easy for Robinson to remain at Sheffield United and take the limited opportunities that came his way as the club pursue what now look like genuine Champions League aspirations. He took the far less glamorous route.
Having seen his form drift at both club and international level in the past six months or so, he now looks to be back at the top of his game. The timing could hardly be better, with Ireland set to face into a crunch Euro 2020 play-off next month.
While various Ireland managers over the last decade or so have preached the importance of consistent playing time at club level, the reality of the situation is that a number of potentially key players is that they are often peripheral figures at club level. That can result in players showing up for international windows out of form and out of favour, the effects of which have not been all that difficult to see on the pitch.
We want as many Irish players in the Premier League as possible, but playing consistent minutes at a lower level could be more beneficial to the national team as a whole. If they perform well, they will get back to the top flight in no time.
The likes of Robbie Brady, Kevin Long, even Darren Randolph and Shane Duffy, find themselves in this situation at the moment.
Of course moving from a club is not always easy, with a number of potential obstacles standing in the way of moving on. Still, despite still being in the very early days of his West Brom tenure, Robinson looks to be an example that other Irish players can follow.
If he keeps this run up, there is absolutely no doubt that he will be back in the Premier League for 20/21 campaign, be it with West Brom, Sheffield United, or somebody else. His resurgence will only benefit his country.