After what was effectively an £8million swap deal with Hull City, nobody at Liverpool expected Andrew Robertson to turn out to be the player he is today, and on the day that he’s been named captain of the Scottish national team, The Anfield Talk’s Anthony (@anthonymarkmcav) looks at the accelerated rise to prominence of Andy Robbo.
A little over eight years ago, a young defender, deemed “too small” to play football, was released by Celtic. This after and despite captaining his secondary school side throughout his education.
“I was only a boy and I supported Celtic. So leaving at 15 was hard to take. But I never felt that was the end of my career.”
It was Scottish Third Division side, Queen’s Park that took a punt on a then 18-year-old. They took Robertson in on a youth contract.
It could have been over before it began had Andy Robertson continued on with his studying into University. However, he was called up to the Queen’s Park first team side just months before he was due to start his undergraduate degree.
He made his senior debut in a Scottish Challenge Cup match against Berwick Rangers, a game that ended in a penalty shootout victory for the Spiders. Robbo had to wait until November to score his first goal.
After 43 appearances in three competitions for Queen’s Park, Robertson and fellow Queen’s Park player Aiden Connolly both joined Dundee United at the end of the 2012/13 season, and under new boss, Jackie McNamara, Robertson went from strength to strength.
He was straight away thrown into the deep end at United, becoming their starting left-back in a matter of weeks. He made his debut for Dundee on opening day. It turned out to be less than memorable in a 0-0 draw with Partick Thistle.
“At United we had a lot of young players. Yes, we had up days and down days. But fortunately our manager Jackie McNamara stuck by the young players and kept encouraging us to do the right things.”
Andy only spent the rest of the 2013/14 season at Dundee United, winning the young player of the year award in the Scottish Premiership. As well as being named in the team of the year for the division, too.
It was Hull City that would be the next calling ground for Robertson, who made a £3million move from him in the summer of 2014. He solidified his position in a then Premier League level side quickly. Even winning the club’s player of the month award in his first month of competitive action.
Hull City were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2014/15 season, with Andy Robertson being one of the only positives to take from a largely disappointing campaign for the Tigers.
A seasons in the Championship followed. Whereas most players would see this as stagnation, especially at the young age 21 and 22, but Robertson grabbed the opportunity by the horns. He put in performances, week-in, week-out, that surpassed the Championship in terms of quality.
Then, just as Hull were to make a return to the championship after being immediately being relegated from the top tier, Andy joined Liverpool for a fee of £8million, with Kevin Stewart going in the opposite direction for the same fee.
Facing his stiffest competition from Alberto Moreno, Andy Robertson vowed to make the left-back position his own.
“I want to be a starting XI player at Liverpool. I don’t want to come here and think I’ll just be happy on the bench or I’ll just be happy being in a 25-man squad. That’s not the type of person I am, I want to play.”
It took more time that he would have liked, but being slowly integrated in to the Liverpool squad proved to be the best thing to happen to him. Quickly becoming a fan favourite, he endeared himself to Liverpool fans with his gut-bust performances and lovable nature.
His patience was well rewarded when Alberto Moreno went down injured in December. A long run in the side followed, culminating in the Champions League final.
Now, today, as the cherry on top of the last seven years of Andy Robertson’s footballing career, he has been named as the brand new captain of the Scottish National Team.
— Andrew Robertson (@andrewrobertso5) September 3, 2018
He takes over from Scott Brown, who was the last full-time captain of the Scottish side, in the mean time, Kieran Tierney, Charlie Mulgrew, James Morrison and Scott McKenna have shared the captaincy in the last six internationals.
Robertson joins an illustrious list of Scottish captains, including former Reds, Gary McAllister, Graeme Souness, and Kenny Dalglish.
After just 22 caps for the national team, immense pressure is now heaped upon Robertson. However, it’s unlikely that it will get to the still young left-back. His history and character proceeds himself. He truly is one of the good guys in football and will ultimately be a great leader. Every word Robertson speaks to the press flows with honesty and genuine passion.
People toot the horn of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk being the future captaincy figures at the club but is Andy Robertson going under the radar? Time will tell.
*all quotes taken from the Daily Record/LFC