The qualifying round for the right to participate in the European Championship is entering a decisive stage. In Group I, Stanislav Cherchesov’s team will face double matches against the Scottish national team. The Highlanders boast players from the top 6 clubs in the English Premier League. However, among this company, the captain of the “Tartan Army” – Andrew Robertson, enjoys special authority. In addition, in the meeting at Hampden Park, it was the Liverpool defender who gave the “scoring” pass to Artyom Dziuba, thereby allowing the striker to level the score in the game. The weekly Football tried to compose a portrait of one of the blue leaders.
Working with Slutsky
The head coach of the Merseyside club, Jurgen Klopp, personally insisted on the acquisition of the then little-known Hull City defender two years ago. At that time, the “tigers”, by the way, were led by the Russian coach Leonid Slutsky.
“He is a wonderful person, I didn’t work with him that much time, it was a short period. Slutsky did not have so much to do with my development and transfer, because his hands were tied after the appearance of Liverpool’s interest, – the footballer recalls.
Serious financial difficulties forced the specialist to sell the key defender at Anfield in June 2017. As a result, the “black-orange” were able to replenish the budget by 8 million pounds, and the “red” – to acquire one of the fastest left-backs of the English Premier League.
The next two seasons were breakthroughs in the career of the 25-year-old Scotsman. To “accelerate”, Andrew needed one season in the English elite. 22 matches in the 2017-18 season were replaced by almost one hundred percent 36 meetings in the following.
At first, the competitor to Robertson was the Spanish newcomer of the Reds Alberto Moreno (who was persistently sent to Zenit by the local media this summer). However, speed, coupled with effective flank connections to the attack did their job – Andrew earned the trust of the demanding Klopp.
In parallel with this, Robertson’s authority in the national team grew. Last fall, the footballer first tried on the captain’s armband in the League of Nations group round matches against Albania and Israel. One of the first to find out about this is the 52-year-old manager of Liverpool.
“I wrote to Klopp a message with the text:“ Just so you know. I got the captain’s armband. ” He sent me back in large letters: “Right now, you are a brave Scottish heart (“ Braveheart ”is a film with Mel Gibson about Scotland’s struggle for independence). I sent him thumb emoji, he responded with dancing emoji. Brilliant, ”Robertson recalls.
Ultimately, it was the German specialist who unleashed Andrew’s potential. The Scotsman had no choice but to respond with gratitude in return. As the saying goes, debt payment is red. But even 10 years ago, a footballer could have completely finished his career.
The beginning of the football life of young Robertson could be the envy of any child in the country of the “highlanders”. Indeed, not everyone is lucky enough to get into the system of one of the two grandees of local football.
Andrew was lucky twice. As a child, he was taken to the Celtic Academy. But besides this, Robertson also fulfilled his cherished dream. The fact is that the boy was an ardent admirer of the “white-greens”.
“When I was little, my mom, dad and brother and I went to Celtic Park. We had four season passes. My brother and I hung Henrik Larsson’s posters everywhere. Larsson was a legend. An absolute legend, ”recalled Andrew.
“In my room, even the wallpaper was green. Celtic was part of our family – and so it is now. As a little kid, I got into the youth team of my favorite club. I drove around the field and imagined that I was at Celtic Park, – Robertson shared his memories.
However, Andrew’s dream was not destined to last forever. Affected by his fragile health and small stature. The expulsion from the club system affected the defender’s pride. In the future, the young man even thought about leaving football.
At the age of 16, a lack of funds forced the young guy to sell tickets to Hampden Park, where the local Queens Park and the national team played. In addition to concerts by artists such as Depeche Mode or Robbie Williams, the boy was also able to attend important games for free, which eventually brought him back to the football field.
While playing for the school team in his spare time, Andrew was spotted by the Queens Park scouts from Glasgow. The young man had the opportunity to come back to the arena that has become familiar, not to sell programs for the match, but to go out onto a perfectly flat lawn in club uniform.
However, the choice was very difficult for the guy. It is worth clarifying here that Queens Park is a rather distinctive team. And it’s not at all about the specifics of the composition.
Despite being one of the oldest in Scotland and the third most won trophies after Celtic and Glasgow Rangers, the team deliberately maintains amateur status in the fourth-strongest division.
On the one hand, such an alluring return to the game. But on the other hand, stagnation at the bottom of Scottish football is far from the most optimistic prospect for reaching the adult level. The young man did not hesitate and risked throwing everything at stake.
“I went to Queens Park despite the fact that many thought this was very strange. They said it was a step back. But Queens Park has an excellent youth training system and that’s where I became who I am now. “
“Grind eggs into powder”
After passing the 17 and 19 age categories, in August 2012, Andrew made his first team debut in the Scottish League Cup against Airdrie United. Robertson at that time was only 18 years old. That season, the defender played 43 matches in which he scored 2 goals and 3 assists.
“Playing at Queens Park last season was great, but I always believed that I could get to a higher level,” the footballer recalled. Indeed, diligence and dedication in training and games for the club allowed him to raise the bar of aspirations over and over again.
Through Dundee United, in transit to Hull, to then move to Liverpool and, at the age of 25, fulfill the dream of any football player – to win the Champions League. Cinderella story? Robertson strongly disagrees.
“In my presence, no one was waving a magic wand or pointing it in my direction. I haven’t won the lottery before joining one of the best clubs in the world. I play for Liverpool for the same reason I became the captain of my national team. I ground my eggs to powder to achieve this. And thanks to the fact that he plowed, he was able to realize the greatest of the talents that I have.