It’s the 18th of August 2012. Up in Scotland, a teenager by the name of Andrew Robertson voiced his frustration on Twitter about his career prospects. ‘Life at this age is rubbish with no money #needajob’.
The closing ceremony of the London Olympics had just ended and the country was unsure of what to do with itself after a few weeks of euphoria. North of the border, Robertson, aged 18, was wondering what he wanted to do with his life, having been let go by Celtic’s youth team three years earlier.
Things soon fell into place for Robertson. He worked hard in set-up of Queen’s Park’s youth team, earning a call-up to the first team for the 2012-13 season. Gardner Speirs, former coach at Queen’s Park, spoke to the Telegraph about their precocious young talent:
“I saw him three nights a week and on a Saturday. He gave 100% in his training and matches, to go along with the talent he had. That’s the overriding thing that we remember.
“He had thought of going to university but decided that he would take a gap year and devote himself to football. It certainly paid off in style – a fantastic story.”
That first season was huge for Robertson. He got into the side and played more than any other player that season, despite his tender age and inexperience. However, as he was playing for an amateur side, he was not earning any money and that Christmas still had to work as a temp at his local Marks and Spencer.
Back on the football pitch he, unsurprisingly, stood out in the Scottish third tier and a deal was agreed with Dundee United, a side who were in the Scottish Premiership at the time. His first professional contract was signed and he left the tills of M&S behind, going from selling ham and rice to playing at Tannadice.
Instead of a fee, the young talent moved with Queen’s Park inserting a large sell-on clause so that when he inevitably moved on again, they would gain some financial reward. A top class player will stand out in any division and Robertson barely noticed the step up.
He had scooped the SPFL Young Player of the Month and the SPFL Player of the Month awards within four months and earned a new contract given his obvious talent. He would not stay in Scotland for long though and when Premier League side Hull City came in with a bid of £2.85m, Dundee United had to accept.
By then his talent had already been noticed by Scotland and he had made his debut for the first team. Manager Gordon Strachan was impressed with Andy Robertson’s debut during the 1-0 win telling The Guardian: “Andy came on there and the first time he picked it up he drove about 30 yards. I thought 'that's fantastic'. Absolutely no grey area, I'm going to do what I do. I loved seeing that first touch."
Praised flowed in from all corners once he was at Hull despite them being relegated in his first season. Hatem Ben Arfa told the Totally Football Show:
“In fairness, they are just not very good. It’s a team with Alex Bruce in it. But there’s one who can be super, super, super good … and that’s Robertson.”
He stuck around with them in the Championship and his stamina played a key role in them winning the play-offs after a gruelling season and he was a Premier League player once more. He was Hull’s stand-out player in the following season, showing he had the quality to shine in the top flight despite Hull being relegated - again.
This time though he had caught the eye of Jurgen Klopp who was fed up with Alberto Moreno and James Milner dithering about at left-back and needed a top quality player to take his side forward.
£8m later and Andy Robertson was a Liverpool player. His strength, stamina and willingness to press made him the perfect fit for a new-look Liverpool side that wanted to play on the front foot. His signing, along with the big money recruitment of Virgil van Dijk and the emergence of Trent Alexander-Arnold has taken Liverpool from midtable fodder to serious Champions League and Premier League contenders.
Last season when he started in Kiev against Real Madrid, he became just the sixth player in history to feature in both a Champions League final and a Championship play-off final.
Tonight he will get to pit his wits against the greatest player to have ever lived. Lionel Messi will try to get the better of Andy Robertson in the Champions League semi-final and tonight in the Nou Camp, we get to see just how far the Scot has come. From M&S to Messi and Suarez, what a journey Andrew Robertson is on...