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Gordon Smith: Andrew Robertson is the perfect role model for young Scots footballers

Andrew Robertson in action for Scotland (SNS Group)
Andrew Robertson in action for Scotland (SNS Group)

Currently helping Hull City sweep all before them in the English Championship, the 21-year-old is being tracked by Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal.

That is an exciting development, not just for Robertson himself, but for the national team. As Gordon Strachan has frequently stated, we want our players performing at as high a level as possible.

And, while we tend to get a fair sprinkling in both the Championship and the lower end of the Premier, we very rarely have anyone involved in Champions League action.

Not south of the border anyway.

What would be particularly pleasing in this case would be the example it would give to many young kids who might be struggling to make the breakthrough into the senior game.

For Robertson, it should be remembered, was actually rejected by Celtic at youth level for being too small.

That is a brutally hard time for any player and one which, all too often, is where the dreams of future stardom are cast aside in favour of a more conventional career.

This young Glaswegian, though, battled back in fantastic fashion.

He was outstanding for the amateurs Queen’s Park in the bottom tier. I remember covering one particular match against Rangers for a broadcaster and questioning why they would not see him as a great pick up.

Yes, they had Lee Wallace, a very solid and experienced defender in the position but Robertson looked a perfect development project.

For some reason they passed and their loss was Dundee United’s gain.

The Tangerines brought him in and watched him blossom into a full internationalist with the benefit of full-time training.

They got a good season out of him, a fee of more than £2 million when he quit for Hull and stand to get another seven-figure fee thanks to a sell-on clause in that deal, if he does get picked up by Man United or another of his wealthy admirers at the end of the season.

To play for one of the biggest English clubs is a dream for so many so, for it to be achieved by a footballer cast aside, is one of the most powerful motivators any coach could ask for.

Of course, it won’t happen in every case.

Robertson’s experience will, in fact, will be an exception.

Most players will simply find the level at which their talents allow them to be competitive on a consistent basis.

However, it is the message of don’t give up, always strive to be the very best you can be, which is so valuable.

Play and train with the right attitude throughout your career and at the end you will be left, not with regrets, but the satisfaction of having made the very best of an opportunity thousands can only dream about – that of earning a living playing football.


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