Robbo’s role modelWednesday, 15th Jan 2020
“When somebody works so hard every single day and dedicates their full life to their profession then he is reaping the rewards for that and he deserves every bit of it.
It pricked the ears up to hear Pars captain Paul Paton’s name crop up in Andy Robertson’s pre match interviews at the last month’s World Club Championships in Doha. On the eve of the tournament that saw Robertson play his part in Liverpool’s most recent trophy win, he discussed the benefits of listening to good advice.
While he revealed that advice to be mainly from his Liverpool team mate James Milner these days, Paul Paton and John Rankin were name checked as early influencers while he was with Dundee United.
Paul said that his attention had been drawn to the Scotland captain’s reference to him. He told this website that it was nice to see Andy say that:-
“He has always said nice things since I played with him. Obviously me and Ranks tried to help him as much as we could years ago. I don’t think we can take too much credit for what he has done himself to become the best left back in the world.”
Much as Paul sensed the young Robertson was destined to be a top player, no one could ever have foreseen him going to win the Champions League and becoming Scotland captain. He continued:-
“You need a bit of luck on the way but from his first day in, the way he trained hard every single day, the way he has changed his full body, look at him now. He was a skinny wee kid at Dundee United but now he is a grown man, strong, quick everything.
“Every day in training he applied himself the right way, worked hard and kicked on every single day. He went from a promising young kid to an outstanding left back in the SPL within six months.”
Paton and Robertson crossed paths at Tannadice in season 2013/14 when they were both virtually ever present in a Dundee United team that finished fourth in the Premier League and were Scottish Cup finalists. Paul credited his then manager Jackie McNamara for the rapid development of the player he had signed at the age of nineteen from Queens Park in June 2013 along with Aidan Connolly who spent last season with the Pars. Paul explained young Andy’s progress:-
“There were a couple of clubs wanting to sign Andy at the time he signed for United. They were saying that they would loan him back to Queens Park for a year but Jackie said no. ‘If you are good enough you will play for me every week’.
“Luckily Andy went to United and Jackie played him every week. He had full faith in him and now he is the best left back in the world.”
In July 2014, Dundee United accepted an offer of £2.85 million for Robertson from Hull City where he spent three seasons prior to his £8 million move to Liverpool. Naturally Paul feels really proud of him.
“I send him the odd message, usually me texting him to say well done. It is never the other way around since I have not had much success!
“I am delighted for him, he is a great boy and when somebody works so hard every single day and dedicates their full life to their profession then he is reaping the rewards for that and he deserves every bit of it. I hope they go on to win the Champions League again this year.”
Having Paul at East End Park is clearly an asset stretching further than just on the park, something recognised by Stevie Crawford when appointing the former Dundee United man as club captain this season. He has not lost his ability to influence players but has he seen future stars in his midst?
“I believe that there are some good players in this squad whether they go to that kind of level you never know but certainly a few of them have the ability and capability, they just have to match that with the desire and determination that Andy had and you never know what will happen in life.”
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