KARL Robinson is excited to unleash a ‘better’ Gavin Whyte on Sky Bet League One.

The winger is back at Oxford United after joining from Sky Bet Championship side Cardiff City on a season-long loan, two years after making the opposite move for an undisclosed fee.

Whyte’s previous spell at the Kassam Stadium was his first taste of English football, having moved from Northern Irish Premiership side Crusaders aged 22 in 2018.

Three years on, he has played more than 30 games in the second tier and is a regular for his country – and Robinson expects United to reap the benefits.

The U’s head coach said: “Tactically he’s matured, he’s now training with top Championship players day-in, day-out.

“He’s flourishing in the national team and played a lot of football there as well.

“For me, it’s a more mature Gavin Whyte, a better Gavin Whyte, and more aware of the circumstances he finds himself.

“I think you’re going to see a better version of him.”

The 25-year-old was made available for loan in January after falling out of favour at Cardiff and he signed for eventual League One winners Hull City.

United lost out on one of their top targets then, but they saw off competition to land their man this time.

“We weren’t the biggest bidders, but we were honest with what we could and couldn’t do,” Robinson explained.

“I thought he was coming here before he went to Hull last window and for whatever reason it fell out of our hands.

“We hadn’t spoken from then until about three weeks ago when I knew we could bring him back.

“I take it personally when people don’t come here, because the club means a lot to me and I know what it can do for people.”

Whyte scored nine goals in 47 matches in his first season at United, which also brought his first Northern Ireland call-up.

With 20 international caps, he is now virtually an old hand.

Whyte said: “I think I’ve matured all round, playing in the Northern Ireland set-up has helped.

“The Championship’s a tough league and I maybe have 40 games under my belt.

“I’ll help the young lads and bring as much as I can to this team.”

Whyte added: “I wanted to go somewhere I’d be loved and I was the first time around.

“It made it a bit easier to come here.”