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22nd May 2018

Andy Robertson’s old job shows how far he has come

"Life is like that for many young people"

Robert Redmond

“Life is like that for many young people.”

Andy Robertson has become a cult hero for Liverpool fans and a key player for his manager Jurgen Klopp. Back in February, Liverpool beat West Ham 4-1 at Anfield. Roberto Firmino, Emre Can, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah scored the goals, but the Kop chanted Robertson’s name as Liverpool launched wave after wave of attack on the Hammer’s goal.

The Anfield crowd appreciated the quality of the full-back’s performance and the honesty of his efforts. Robertson was brilliant, he excelled in the defensive side of the game and provided a dangerous attacking outlet with his surges from the back, hitting pinpoint deliveries.

The 24-year-old hasn’t put a foot wrong since gaining his place in Klopp’s team during the winter and the performance against West Ham was typical of his displays this season.

It’s now difficult to imagine Liverpool without him at full-back, and Robertson’s status as a fan favourite has been cemented thanks to his tireless performances. The only thing more remarkable than his displays for Liverpool has been Robertson’s career trajectory.

On Saturday, he’ll start against Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League final in Kiev. This time last year, the Scottish full-back was part of the Hull City team that had been relegated from the Premier League.

That journey alone – from relegation to Champions League finalist – is impressive, but it was only one step on Robertson’s rise. Four years ago, he had just finished a season with Dundee United. In 2013, Robertson was playing for amateur team Queen’s Park in his native Glasgow, after Celtic had released him from their academy because they felt he was too small.

Not only will Robertson be the only footballer on the pitch this Saturday to have played in the Scottish third division, he will almost certainly be the only one to have worked in Marks & Spencer.

Robertson has revealed that he had to work in the store, and do odd jobs for Scottish FA, during his time at Queen’s Park. The amateur club only paid their players travel expenses, meaning the young full-back had no choice but to find work outside of football.

“At Queen’s Park you just got your travel expenses so I found a job on the tills at M&S on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow,” Robertson told Donald McRae in an interview for The Guardian.

The Scot said that “life is like that for many young people” and also spoke his experiences working for the Scottish FA at Hampden Park. Robertson would answer phones in the office and help take bookings for matches and concerts at the stadium.

“I once showed Vincent Kompany to his seat,” Robertson said.

“Scotland played Belgium and I was told to show [the injured] Kompany to his seat and give him a programme. He won’t remember it.”

Five years later, he was part of the Liverpool team which knocked Kompany’s Manchester City team out of the Champions League.

In the interview, Robertson comes across as a humble, grounded and socially conscious individual. For his 21st birthday in 2015, he asked his friends and family to donate money to their local food bank rather than buy him any gifts.

“A normal 21st birthday present is a bottle of vodka or champagne and during the season I don’t drink. At the end of the season I have a few beers with my old man. So if someone wants to buy me a bottle of vodka I’d rather they donate the £20.”

A couple of years after working on a cash till in a high street store, Robertson is preparing to play against Ronaldo in the Champions League final. His rise is remarkable and an example to any young footballer looking to build a career. It’s no wonder he’s such a favourite with the Kop.