Andy Robertson: 'I worked really hard to get to where I am today'

Andy Robertson: 'The reason why I'm a Liverpool player and captain of my country is I worked really hard to get to where I am today'


Andy Robertson is annoyed. Fed up with his own personal saga being framed by folk on the outside looking in. Keen to set the record straight.
'Not many things bug me, but if there's one thing that does, it's the idea that my story is a football fairy tale.
'I know when people say I'm some sort of Cinderella Man that it's meant as a compliment.
Andy Robertson has risen from Scotland's lower leagues to a second Champions League final
Andy Robertson has risen from Scotland's lower leagues to a second Champions League final
'I appreciate that, but to be totally honest, it doesn't feel like one, because it isn't true.
'No magic wands have been waved in my direction, I didn't win some kind of lottery to land a spot at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
'The reason why I'm a Liverpool player is the same reason why I'm captain of my country: I've worked my b******* off to get where I am, and by doing that, I've been able to make the most of whatever talent I have.' Sportsmail reported yesterday of Robertson's desire to lift the Champions League trophy on Saturday evening to dull the pain of missing out last season.
But, writing on the The Players' Tribune website, Robertson tells his own tale of heartbreak and redemption.
Robertson wants to lift the trophy on Saturday to dull the pain of missing out last season
Robertson wants to lift the trophy on Saturday to dull the pain of missing out last season
Of being given one final season to scuffle away as an amateur with Queen's Park, 'earning' six quid a night and doing odd jobs to make ends meet.
Either he made something happen for himself - or he'd have to walk away from the game. Quite a thought.
At times moving, occasionally downright hilarious, never more so than his retelling of throwing-up all over the training pitch on his first trip to Melwood, Robertson's story deserves to be heard. Straight from the full-back's mouth, as it were.
Stressing again his lack of patience with hearing that he caught a lucky break to go from Scotland's lower leagues to a second consecutive Champions League final, the 25-year-old asked: 'Why does this matter?
'In truth, it doesn't matter to me as an individual. It probably doesn't matter to my family, either.
The defender went from a £6-a night amateur at Queen’s Park to facing Lionel Messi
The defender went from a £6-a night amateur at Queen’s Park to facing Lionel Messi
'It only matters because there are God knows how many little Andy Robertsons out there. Kids who are struggling to convince people that their talent deserves an opportunity. Kids who just need a break to get to wherever they deserve to be.
'Kids who might give up if they start believing that only a fairy tale can save them.
'I've never wanted to be a poster boy, but if I'm going to be a poster boy for anything, it should be this - if you don't give up, and if you carry on believing in yourself when others are doubting you, you can make it. You can show that you are good enough.
'Now I've got two kids of my own, that message is more important than ever. I don't want them to think that their dad got a lucky break.
'I need them to understand that whatever potential they have can only be fulfilled if they put their minds to it. Fairy tales? That's bedtime stuff.' We all know the bare bones of Robertson's backstory by now. Released by Celtic, the club he had adored, at the age of 15.
A leader in a side who overcame Barcelona in dramatic fashion, he feels like a Liverpool player
A leader in a side who overcame Barcelona in dramatic fashion, he feels like a Liverpool player
Previously, though, he's only spoken of the pain of that rejection in almost general terms. Not any more.
'Mum hated to see us cry,' he writes. 'Still does. But she saw me shed more than a few tears that day.
'I remember she grabbed me a takeout curry from my favourite place to try to cheer me up.
'It was midweek, too. I almost never got midweek curry. I couldn't even eat much of that. That's how she knew how bad I was hurting.
'We decided to give it another go at Queen's Park in 2010. Bit of a smaller club in Glasgow, to say the least.
'Life was different there. I was making six quid a night. It was a working-class type of club, and most players were coming from jobs they worked during the day. It was no different for me.
'I did all sorts of jobs to scrape by. I got set up with landscaping gigs, I cleaned up after the first team, and I even worked down at Hampden Park during Scotland matches.
'My parents told me if I didn't start to find my game that year, it would probably be best to start looking at Uni options. So I just put everything I had into getting better every day.
'That was real work, real pressure. People always ask me about the pressure of playing for Liverpool. And it's there, trust me, I feel it. But there's that pressure, and then there's the pressure of playing for your life - knowing that if you can't figure it out, you have to give up on everything you love. That's the harshest pressure I've ever felt.
'And in that situation, I began to truly believe in myself - maybe for the first time in my life. I didn't really have another choice.' The move to Dundee United was more than earned, so too the leap to Hull City in 2014. And then...
'When I was landscaping and emptying the bins, I didn't think I'd ever be playing Champions League football, especially for Liverpool,' admitted the rampaging left-back.
'It's funny, actually... a few clubs called when I was in pre-season with Hull in 2017, but I wasn't really that interested.
'My missus was pregnant, and we were in the process of getting everything ready for our big arrival - that was our top priority, like any expectant parents.
'Then I heard Liverpool wanted me. Liverpool. When you hear Liverpool want you, you call your agent back in about five seconds. I couldn't sign the contract fast enough, to be honest.
'I got a dose of reality pretty quickly, though. The medical took two days, and it was brutal.
'My diet was weird because the medical staff had to do so many tests to make sure I was fit and was going to stay fit. After I passed those tests, I had to go to Melwood to do a lactate test.
'I was running it with Danny Ings, and after a few laps around the pitch, I felt something going on with my stomach. I knew things were going to get bad, but what can you do? I just kept running.
'A few minutes later, I'm on my knees, puking my guts out on the Melwood pitch. This hallowed ground. This place where all these legends have trained. King Kenny. Rushie. Stevie Gerrard.
'And here I am, some wee lad from Glasgow, spewing up in front of the Liverpool medical staff.
'If first appearances count, God knows what they thought about me.
'The next day, I met the manager and I heard his laugh from a mile away. He'd obviously heard about my test.
'I turn around and he's walking toward me, rubbing his belly and pointing at me. The staff behind him are having a laugh, too.
'Then he gave me a big hug. After that, I relaxed a bit.
'The whole squad made me feel welcome that week, but honestly, it took a really long time for it to sink in that I was a Liverpool player.
'I wore the red shirt. I wore the club tracksuit everywhere we went. I was wearing it around the house. But I still didn't feel like a Liverpool player.' Inevitably, Robertson simply worked harder and harder until Jurgen Klopp put him in the team. Until he became indispensable.
A leader in a side who overcame Barcelona in the most dramatic fashion, he feels like a Liverpool player now. One aiming to topple Tottenham in Madrid on Saturday night. He added: 'It's not lost on any of us what this opportunity means. This has been an incredible season, full of so many ups and downs and emotional moments.
'But, for me, it's also been a chance to take a step back and see the full picture.
'From being released by Celtic and sobbing over my curry, to making six quid a night grinding away in Scotland, to signing for Liverpool and putting on that red tracksuit, barely believing it.
'It feels good to have another crack at this final. The thing that matters most is that our fate is in our hands. We know that.
'And if there's one thing I can guarantee about this team, about this group of players, it's that we will stop at nothing to try to make our supporters' dream come true.
'If that does happen, it won't be a fairy tale. It'll be because we deserve it.'

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