Now nearly two years removed from seeing his move to AC Milan collapse, U.S. men’s national team defender Antonee Robinson says he doesn’t worry as much about transfer rumors despite links to the Premier League this past summer.
Robinson was connected to Wolves, Bordeaux and even Manchester City during the last transfer window, and his stock has only been rising higher after a number of standout performances for the USMNT. (He scored his first U.S. goal in the 4-1 win over Honduras during the September window.)
However, the Fulham defender says that, after seeing his January 2020 move to Milan collapse due to a heart issue detected by his medical, he tries not to worry about any potential career moves.
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“Being linked with clubs, especially after the AC Milan thing, me personally, it’s obviously nice to see things like that,” Robinson said, “but I don’t really take too much out of it because I just want to get on with the job that I’m doing at the club I’m at.
“You never know what’s gonna happen in football. I don’t like to get my hopes up or anything so I just work hard where I’m at and the rest will take care of itself another time.”
Robinson becomes USMNT cog
Robinson has emerged as a key player for the U.S., having made the left back spot his own with several strong performances.
If fully fit, the Fulham defender is likely to start on Thursday against Costa Rica, having been held back in the U.S. for Sunday’s loss to Panama due to England’s COVID-19 restrictions which requires a lengthy quarantine period for travelers to Panama. However, Robinson did admit that he is battling an injury knock to his knee that could keep him sidelined, although Robinson said he’s optimistic.
The defender went on to add that he feels like he’s just coming into his own as a player as, at age 24, he’s beginning to truly grasp the tactical side of the game that wasn’t always required for him as a younger player.
“I feel like early on in my days as a pro starting off at Bolton, and even when I moved to Wigan as well, when I first was at Wigan, a lot of the Championship games, the faults in my game technically and tactically, they were kind of pushed aside because of my physicality,” he said. “I could kind of just pick the ball up and run past people in the Championship at that stage in my life, which made it easier, which made me a lot more comfortable.
“Then you come out to the international stage where everyone’s physical, so you don’t just get away with not understanding the game properly just with your physicality.
“It was just sort of developing into being more tactically aware and fitting into a system where you actually have a role rather than, at Wigan, I just felt like I was a big outlet who could get the ball and drive the team forward pretty much all the time, which didn’t work out for us early on.”
USMNT boss Gregg Berhalter agreed with Robinson’s assessment, praising the 24-year-old defender or his growth as a player.
“I think that’s a great example of club and country working together,” Berhalter said.”Fulham under Scott Parker, I think they played really good soccer, under this coach now [Marco Silva], they played really good soccer.
“It’s a combination of the things that we’re asking of him, which are very similar to what his club’s asking from him. His learning has increased, and he’s able to handle all of that, but I agree with his assessment early on. But that’s also the development of a player.”
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