To say it has been an eventful 18 months for Glasgow local Andrew Robertson would be quite the understatement. A year and a half ago, an 18-year-old Andrew Robertson marched out in front of roughly 200 spectators when his Queens Park side played Annan Athletic back in March 2013, now 18 months on, the Scot is expected to entertain 60,000 people next weekend as his Hull side travel to the Emirates Stadium.
Released by Celtic at the tender age of 15, Robertson quickly looked to revitalise himself, and he did as such when he captained his school team to the semi-finals of the Scottish Schools Cup, subsequently catching the eye of Queens Park scouts. After impressing throughout various levels at the Glasgow club, he was called up to the first team during the 2012-13 season, making a total of 40 appearances.
Robertson quickly caught the eye of Dundee United boss Jackie McNamara, who brought him to Tannadice in the summer of 2013. The 20-year-old went straight into the first team to the surprise of many – including Robertson himself.
However, the Scot hit the ground running, and marked his first goal in United colours with a memorable solo-goal in Dundee United’s 2-2 draw with Motherwell. After appearing 44 times in all competitions for the Dundee side, Robertson was crowned Scotland’s PFA Young Player of the Year along with a place in the PFA Scotland Team of the Year.
Additionally, his performances also earned him a call-up to Gordon Strachan’s Scotland squad, where he made his full debut in Scotland’s remarkable 1-0 win in Poland.
The Dundee United defender’s performances attracted a number of clubs down south, including Swansea and Everton, however it was Steve Bruce’s Hull City who acquired the services of the young left-back, signing him for a reported fee of £2.85M.
His performances for Steve Bruce’s side thus far have been nothing short of impressive; starting every game for the Tigers and grabbing his first assist when Crystal Palace visited the KC Stadium just last weekend.
But what exactly is it about Robertson that has attracted three different sides in under two years?
It seems that as the full-back position in modern football becomes ever more demanding – destroying the myth of a full-back being either a failed centre-back or a failed winger – that young full-backs are coming through the ranks with a phenomenal preferred foot. Look no further than Luke Shaw, whose name has been plastered all over the headlines with his somewhat controversial move to Manchester United this past summer.
Robertson possesses similar attributes to the former Southampton man; pace-to-burn, excellent link-up play and a pinpoint cross with his left-peg. Despite this, there are obviously areas of his games which needs improved upon, which he has already highlighted himself in an interview with The Telegraph last month:
“I need to work on my overall game,” he says. “I don’t think I am anywhere near the complete article that I feel I can be. Everything I get praised for I can still work on and get better and I need to improve my heading, my weak foot and even my defending and going forward”.
More recently, the former Dundee United man shone in Scotland’s 1-0 win over Georgia in the Euro 2016 qualifiers. Scotland boss Gordon Strachan looked to set his side up with heavy emphasis on Robertson marauding forward as Georgia were never going to cause Scotland trouble going forward. Ikechi Anya came inside a lot – certainly more than what he did against the Germans last month – leaving Robertson the entire left flank.
However, it’s crucial to note that given Anya’s play style, he looked to take on the Georgia full-back whenever a 1-on-1 opportunity presented itself. This therefore meant Robertson was the option behind Anya, which led to Scotland’s first and only goal. The 20-year-old’s cross resulted in the Georgian keeper rushing – somewhat naively – off his line to flap the ball away from the danger area but only to the feet of Shaun Maloney.
Lastly, what is even more impressive is how his rise to stardom has not even fazed the 20-year-old in the slightest. Saying in an interview to The Telegraph,
I don’t really get nervous. You just have to believe in yourself. There is no point in getting nervous. I get a few butterflies in my stomach but it isn’t really nerves but things that will help your game.
Who could’ve thought that a young, raw left-back playing in the bottom tier of Scottish football could go on to be one of the finest full-backs Scotland have just 18-months ago? No-one, not even Andrew Robertson himself.