Infotainment Factory: Man City prodigy who could choose Australia

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Thursday, 4 April 2019

Man City prodigy who could choose Australia


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- David Weiner is the Editor of Optus Sport

Ask 15-year-old Australian Alexander Robertson where he sees himself in two years, and he doesn’t even flinch.

“Playing (UEFA) Champions League football.”

The teenager, from Maroubra in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, has become one of the most sought after young talents in the Premier League. And that dream is anything but a fantasy. 

Click HERE for the full Optus Sport video feature on Alexander Robertson!

He is about to ink a four-year contract with Manchester City, while he also has landed a long-term contract with Adidas.

The precocious talent, who was signed by City from Manchester United, is managed by former England, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid striker Michael Owen, and was coveted by all of the Premier League’s top six clubs.

He also comes from impeccable football pedigree.

His father Mark played for Australia. His grandfather, also named Alex, also represented the Socceroos.

Could we be about to see the third generation in an incredible family dynasty wearing green and gold?

It is complicated.

Robertson has two caps for England’s under-16s, and has Peru and Scotland also vying for his talents along with Australia. He will have to make an early call ahead of the under-17 World Cup in Brazil. Although that decision will not be binding, at some point, he will have to decide where his heart lies.

“There is a different gut feeling to every country,” Robertson explained to Optus Sport.

“Australia: I’ve lived here, I’m from here.

“Scotland: I was born there, my grandparents were born there.

“Peru: My mum, my grandma, my great grandma – her side of the family are from there.

“England: they’ve taken me in as a country.

“It is just different for every country. Different aspects. I’ll just make a decision when I get there.”

His father Mark, who represented Australia at every level and played club football in England and Scotland, adds: “If I was to advise him to play for a national team, a lot of that would come from the heart. Is that the right thing? I’m not sure, because he has got an element of feelings as well.

“For me, there is no other place in the world that I would rather play for: the Socceroos, Joeys, Olyroos, Young Socceroos. I had great pride singing the national anthem but I didn’t live in a different country at 12 or live with people from different environments … I can only respect the choice he makes and will love and support him.”

For now, Alexander’s priorities are to recover from an injury to make his way at the current Premier League leaders; where Pep Guardiola watches his sessions and games and where he has received special advice from captain Vincent Kompany on what it takes to make it at the juggernaut and break into a side bursting with the biggest stars on the planet.

Pep Guardiola

The 15-year-old, who turns 16 later this month, started his overseas adventure when his family took the plunge and moved to England when he was 12. He had been playing club football at New South Wales National Premier League club Hakoah Sydney City, where his father was first grade coach, assisted by his grandfather, but moving to England, and getting experience at Manchester United was a whole new world.

Alexander reflects: “At Manchester United I learnt to be “brave” – football is a lot quicker in England.

“I used to take a lot of touches, dribbling, that’s what I did in Australia. They explained how I need to move the ball quicker.”

Mark adds: “There are people with negative mindsets to say would it be worth it for a 12-year-old to play football in Europe?

“But we took the choice to commit to the young bloke’s future and as a family we felt like we made the right decision.”

Ironically, it was a 6-1 loss playing for the Red Devils, against Manchester City, which changed things dramatically for the midfielder, whose hero was Steven Gerrard, and who cites former Socceroos Lucas Neill and Hayden Foxe as two of his key mentors growing up. 

On the way home from the game, his parents got a call from their opponents that day.

Mark explains: “I know the main reason Manchester City really, really like him – he was playing for Manchester United and his team was getting beat 5-0 and when the fifth goal went in, Alexander sprinted into the net, picked the ball up and sprinted back to the halfway line and turned around gave words of encouragement to his teammates.

“Maybe it was the determination that got him noticed.

“It is a great drive he has got, technically very good, great first touch, passing range with both feet, and most importantly he can score goals, which is important when he times his runs well into the box as a No.8 (midfielder) … It was a marriage made in heaven: They wanted a hard-working, technically gifted, goal scoring midfielder of his age group – it was fantastic how it worked out.”

Steven Gerrard

Manchester is a long way from Maroubra. But despite Alexander’s lofty ambitions, he remains grounded. And his dad is making sure of that.

“I am just grateful to be a part of such a big club, like them, coming from Hakoah in Sydney. Going halfway across the world to that – it is unbelievable,” Alexander says.

Mark adds: “Sometimes you’ve got to find the right door (at City’s training complex) to walk through because the complex is so massive!

“I say to Alexander sometimes you have to not look at the façade, and say, having the Rolls Royce treatment, and five-star facilities and look beyond that and keep it real: every training session has to be of the highest order, at your best for each game.

“Yes, Man City I’d say are the best facilities I have seen in my life. But the facilities are not what make the footballer.

“The footballer is the one who makes the most out of the facilities.”

If he does so, Champions League in two years?

“I’ve got a tunnel vision just to be the best.”

“I used to get photos with players but now nothing really fazes me. I’ve seen a lot of professional players – they are just another human being. I’ve met the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Paul Pogba, all of the Manchester United team but they are just normal people …

“I aspire to be like them.”

Click HERE for the full Optus Sport video feature on Alexander Robertson!

- David Weiner is the Editor of Optus Sport

Ask 15-year-old Australian Alexander Robertson where he sees himself in two years, and he doesn’t even flinch.

“Playing (UEFA) Champions League football.”

The teenager, from Maroubra in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, has become one of the most sought after young talents in the Premier League. And that dream is anything but a fantasy. 

Click HERE for the full Optus Sport video feature on Alexander Robertson!

He is about to ink a four-year contract with Manchester City, while he also has landed a long-term contract with Adidas.

The precocious talent, who was signed by City from Manchester United, is managed by former England, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid striker Michael Owen, and was coveted by all of the Premier League’s top six clubs.

He also comes from impeccable football pedigree.

His father Mark played for Australia. His grandfather, also named Alex, also represented the Socceroos.

Could we be about to see the third generation in an incredible family dynasty wearing green and gold?

It is complicated.

Robertson has two caps for England’s under-16s, and has Peru and Scotland also vying for his talents along with Australia. He will have to make an early call ahead of the under-17 World Cup in Brazil. Although that decision will not be binding, at some point, he will have to decide where his heart lies.

“There is a different gut feeling to every country,” Robertson explained to Optus Sport.

“Australia: I’ve lived here, I’m from here.

“Scotland: I was born there, my grandparents were born there.

“Peru: My mum, my grandma, my great grandma – her side of the family are from there.

“England: they’ve taken me in as a country.

“It is just different for every country. Different aspects. I’ll just make a decision when I get there.”

His father Mark, who represented Australia at every level and played club football in England and Scotland, adds: “If I was to advise him to play for a national team, a lot of that would come from the heart. Is that the right thing? I’m not sure, because he has got an element of feelings as well.

“For me, there is no other place in the world that I would rather play for: the Socceroos, Joeys, Olyroos, Young Socceroos. I had great pride singing the national anthem but I didn’t live in a different country at 12 or live with people from different environments … I can only respect the choice he makes and will love and support him.”

For now, Alexander’s priorities are to recover from an injury to make his way at the current Premier League leaders; where Pep Guardiola watches his sessions and games and where he has received special advice from captain Vincent Kompany on what it takes to make it at the juggernaut and break into a side bursting with the biggest stars on the planet.

Pep Guardiola

The 15-year-old, who turns 16 later this month, started his overseas adventure when his family took the plunge and moved to England when he was 12. He had been playing club football at New South Wales National Premier League club Hakoah Sydney City, where his father was first grade coach, assisted by his grandfather, but moving to England, and getting experience at Manchester United was a whole new world.

Alexander reflects: “At Manchester United I learnt to be “brave” – football is a lot quicker in England.

“I used to take a lot of touches, dribbling, that’s what I did in Australia. They explained how I need to move the ball quicker.”

Mark adds: “There are people with negative mindsets to say would it be worth it for a 12-year-old to play football in Europe?

“But we took the choice to commit to the young bloke’s future and as a family we felt like we made the right decision.”

Ironically, it was a 6-1 loss playing for the Red Devils, against Manchester City, which changed things dramatically for the midfielder, whose hero was Steven Gerrard, and who cites former Socceroos Lucas Neill and Hayden Foxe as two of his key mentors growing up. 

On the way home from the game, his parents got a call from their opponents that day.

Mark explains: “I know the main reason Manchester City really, really like him – he was playing for Manchester United and his team was getting beat 5-0 and when the fifth goal went in, Alexander sprinted into the net, picked the ball up and sprinted back to the halfway line and turned around gave words of encouragement to his teammates.

“Maybe it was the determination that got him noticed.

“It is a great drive he has got, technically very good, great first touch, passing range with both feet, and most importantly he can score goals, which is important when he times his runs well into the box as a No.8 (midfielder) … It was a marriage made in heaven: They wanted a hard-working, technically gifted, goal scoring midfielder of his age group – it was fantastic how it worked out.”

Steven Gerrard

Manchester is a long way from Maroubra. But despite Alexander’s lofty ambitions, he remains grounded. And his dad is making sure of that.

“I am just grateful to be a part of such a big club, like them, coming from Hakoah in Sydney. Going halfway across the world to that – it is unbelievable,” Alexander says.

Mark adds: “Sometimes you’ve got to find the right door (at City’s training complex) to walk through because the complex is so massive!

“I say to Alexander sometimes you have to not look at the façade, and say, having the Rolls Royce treatment, and five-star facilities and look beyond that and keep it real: every training session has to be of the highest order, at your best for each game.

“Yes, Man City I’d say are the best facilities I have seen in my life. But the facilities are not what make the footballer.

“The footballer is the one who makes the most out of the facilities.”

If he does so, Champions League in two years?

“I’ve got a tunnel vision just to be the best.”

“I used to get photos with players but now nothing really fazes me. I’ve seen a lot of professional players – they are just another human being. I’ve met the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Paul Pogba, all of the Manchester United team but they are just normal people …

“I aspire to be like them.”

Click HERE for the full Optus Sport video feature on Alexander Robertson!

http://bit.ly/2G4sYLD
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