Released by Celtic as a teenager because he was deemed too small, Andy Robertson made it the hard way, with spells at amateur side Queen’s Park, Dundee United and Hull City preceding his move to Liverpool in 2017.
As he gears up for his third UEFA Champions League final with the Reds, the 28-year-old left-back reflects on his circuitous rise to the top of European football and Jürgen Klopp’s role in taking Liverpool to the next level.
That night in Madrid [when Liverpool won the 2019 UEFA Champions League final] will live with me for the rest of my life. Obviously, the season before we just fell short in Kyiv, and to then get to another Champions League final… it doesn’t always happen. Some people only get to one and they’re blessed to be in one. And all of a sudden, we were in two within the space of a year, and we went and won it.
Winning the Premier League and everything was great, but it’s more of a long slog, and obviously COVID had hit. But when I look back on that day in Madrid, the build-up, everything before the game, getting videos off people that mean a lot to me and then going out and performing like we did and getting our hands on the big trophy, it just makes me smile every time I think about it.
I couldn’t have dreamed of what’s happened, but I’m delighted with the journey that I’ve been on and how it’s all panned out. But I think if you took me back [to when I was at Queen’s Park] and tried to say what I was going to do, the big games I was going to play in, I’d have still laughed in your face.
I’ve always worked hard. I’ve always looked at my weaknesses instead of my strengths and tried to improve them as the years have gone on. Once you do that, you slowly but surely get a bit better, and you also have the experience of playing a wee bit longer and you start reading the game a bit differently and things like that. That all comes as part of age and the more games you play, so you need to wait for that, but I believe I’ve got that now.
I wouldn’t put myself in there with them, that’s for sure. I still look up to these people, and these people give me valuable advice as well. I still bump into them at games and things like that, and they help me so much.
[It once seemed] there was always a Scottish player in the team, but then after [Gary McAllister left in 2002] there weren’t really many. So, I’m just happy to continue that. When I signed, there were so many people I bumped into in the street saying, “We’ve always had a Scottish guy in the team when we’ve won trophies.” So, I’m just delighted we’ve won trophies and that I can be at least part of that and that they can say, “Yeah, we had a Scot when we won this and won that.”
He’s made this club better. He’s put us back into a position where we’re competing for trophies. When he took over, nobody would’ve put Liverpool up there for Champions Leagues, nobody would’ve put Liverpool up there for competing for Premier Leagues. And now we’re always in the conversation, and that’s down to him and his staff. He’s changed the mentality around everyone. The fans all love him; they’ve all bought into what he was doing.
Obviously, it takes the boys to buy into it, but it’s quite an easy philosophy to buy into when it works, and it usually does more often than not. But the manager is the leader of us; he’s the one that makes the big decisions and gets the big calls right, and I think he’ll definitely go down as a legend in Liverpool. When we all retire and look back on it, it will have been an honour to play under him.