He was only 4 years old in 1998. That summer, Scotland played the World Cup in France. Reversed in the group of Brazil, future finalist, beaten by the Blues (3-0), Denmark and Morocco, the Tartan Team (its nickname, in reference to the tartan, a famous Scottish fabric) had come up against the obstacle of the hens. There followed a long crossing of the desert. For 23 years, she was weaned from major competitions, missing five Euros and five World Cups. Talented generations, like that of 2008 with Darren Fletcher and James McFadden, have not been able to taste his international games. “My entire generation missed seeing Scotland reach a major tournament,” said Andrew Robertson recently.

After two decades in purgatory, the black series ended, thanks to a qualification for the Euro obtained in pain, after a play-off, won on penalties, against Serbia. In this homogeneous collective, one player stands out: captain Andy Robertson, 27 years old. “Since I was 3 or 4 years old, I wanted to be a footballer. It was my dream in life,” he told the Daily Mail in 2018. To achieve it, number 3, like some before him, has gone through an unusual path.

Fan of Celtic, the flagship club of his hometown with the Rangers, he was fired by the Bhoys at the age of 15. “I was fired because I was too small. That’s the reason they gave me”, later explained the one who is 178 cm under the board. “It was hard to take, nobody wants to be told they are not at this club anymore. My confidence has taken a hit.” “I don’t think I cried, but I was very upset,” he told The Guardian. “My dream has been taken away.” Being rejected like that could have broken him. On the contrary, it gave him the desire to succeed. In 2012, after finishing his training there, he joined the Queen’s Park first team, which played in Scottish Football League Two, the Scottish fourth division.

At the time, just an adult, but already facing the difficulties of adult life, he tweets his frustration. “Life, at my age, is zero without money #besoindunboulot”, he poured out, with a heavy heart, on the social network. “In Queen’s Park you have to pay your travel expenses, so I got a job at the cash desk at Marks & Spencer on Sauchiehall Street,” he says. Besides this food job, he multiplies small shopping on a daily basis. He sometimes sells tickets in front of Hampden Park, the Glasgow stadium where Scotland plays its matches, to put butter in its spinach.

A disjointed life that fate will turn upside down. The relegation of Rangers, rival club Celtic, in the fourth division for financial reasons, highlights the championship in which Andy Robertson is playing. “They were part of our division at the time. We played in a full Ibrox (the Rangers stadium) and it was a great experience,” he recalls. “We were beaten 2-0, but it was tight until the 87th minute.” The presence of the Rangers above all offers him an unexpected media window to show himself. The following summer, Dundee United, convinced, smelled the right thing. His trainer Jackie McNamara, famous side of the Scottish team who played the World 98, takes him under his wing.

In the space of a season, his career suddenly took off. Promising in the game, he gained confidence, which earned him to be called up for the national team, to be rewarded with the title of “best youngster” and to integrate the eleven-type of the season. “When he first arrived, I had watched him at Queen’s Park and whether he defended or attacked, he was always in the spotlight. His energy and desire to be successful came very early on and j ‘ve always known he had a good chance of going very far, “says his former manager. Spotted by Hull City, in the Premier League, Andy Robertson accepts the challenge offered to him. In three seasons, the full-back climbed twice, but he persuaded Jürgen Klopp to sign him for Liverpool.

His first steps at Anfield are hushed. However, by dint of hard work and determination, he ended up establishing himself as an indisputable player among the Reds. He steals the starting place from Alberto Moreno, injured and unloved after being designated as the main responsible for the failure in the final of the Europa League against Sevilla (3-1) in 2016. “He played at a level. so high (gestures towards the ceiling) and that was it. I had no more chances, “the Spaniard recently explained, without resentment, to the Guardian. Best Red in the Champions League final, lost to Real Madrid (3-1) in 2018, Robertson becomes, the following year, against Tottenham (2-0), the first Scotsman to win the C1 since Darren Fletcher in 2008.

In his second season with the Liverpool shirt, all the superlatives accompany his trajectory. Become an essential cog of the team of Jürgen Klopp, it forms then, with his teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold, a duo compared to that of “Batman and Robin”, writes the Daily Mail. Their combined quality of centers makes them one of the most formidable pairs in Europe (23 assists in the league). A member of the 2019 Premier League and C1 team, Andrew Robertson continues his harvest of trophies. He won, at the end of an exceptional season, the title of champion of England.

In parallel with his club success, the Scotsman is gaining ground within the selection. In September 2018, at just 24 years old, coach Alex McLeish gave him the captaincy. “This is probably the peak of my career,” he admits then. “I can’t wait to try and bring this country back to some big tournaments.” Armband on his arm, he keeps his promise, a year later, by validating Scotland’s qualification for the Euro.

“Being the captain of my country means everything to me,” he told Sky News, ahead of the Czech Republic. An honor he had, for the first time in an international competition, in front of the 12,000 supporters of Hampden Park, where he sold tickets, nine years earlier. “It’s an incredible story,” says Jackie McNamara. “He’s an inspiration to any kid this age who isn’t kept by a club and left out.” Friday, against England (at 9 p.m., live on TF1 and live commented on LCI.fr), a new chapter could be written before our eyes.

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