Andrew Robertson: Me and my mentor Kenny Dalglish

‘He has been someone I’ve been able to turn to’
Full-back Andrew Robertson  in action against Crystal Palace at Anfield.Full-back Andrew Robertson  in action against Crystal Palace at Anfield.
Full-back Andrew Robertson in action against Crystal Palace at Anfield.

As the latest Scot to write his name into Anfield folklore, Andrew Robertson is well aware he is standing on the shoulders of giants.

The legacy of iconic figures such as Billy Liddell and Bill Shankly helped cultivate a Caledonian connection which continues to be deeply valued within a Liverpool support which has been only too happy to embrace swashbuckling left-back Robertson’s key role in the club’s current success.

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For the 26-year-old Glaswegian, ending Liverpool’s 30-year wait to become English champions again was all the sweeter for the joy it provided to arguably the greatest Scot in the club’s history.

Sir Kenny Dalglish was visibly moved as he celebrated in the immediate aftermath of Jurgen Klopp’s side finally clinching the Premier League title at the end of June. The legendary former player and manager, now a non-executive director of the club, has become a mentor for Robertson since his £8 million move to Liverpool from Hull City three years ago.

“From the moment I signed, Sir Kenny has been different class,” says Robertson. “The day I signed, he came into [the training ground at] Melwood to welcome me. Him and his wife, Marina, have been exceptional
with me and my family, whether it was settling into our house or getting anything we needed.

“You know a legend like that doesn’t need to be like that, as he has enough on his plate. But he has been so crucial for me. I’ve spoken to him about Liverpool and I’ve spoken to him about Scotland and he has been someone I’ve been able to turn to. Not many people can say they can turn to Kenny
Dalglish for advice.”

Scotland captain Robertson, speaking to The Lockdown Tactics podcast, reveals that his relationship with Dalglish has also been a bonus for his father Brian and grandfather Harry, both fully paid-up members of the former Celtic striker’s admiration society.

“Kenny was my dad and grandad’s hero and I remember when we beat Barcelona 4-0 in the Champions League semi-final at Anfield last year, my dad and grandad were at the game,” says Robertson.

“He came into the box to say ‘hi’ to my grandad. He is 89 and that was something he will never forget.

“He was having a red wine with my grandad and that’s something we will never forget. For a family like us, it was quite emotional to see that.

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“These are the things he doesn’t need to do but goes out of his way to do. That’s the difference with him. And I’ve tried to help him as well.

“When he got the coronavirus I think everyone was worried, me as well. Kenny got through it fine but at that moment, that’s maybe when it turned [for me] and I was willing to do anything for him and his family, just as he’d done for me since I arrived at Liverpool.”

Dalglish’s reaction to Liverpool’s first title win since he guided them to the old First Division crown back in 1990 summed up its significance for Robertson.

“That’s part and parcel of it,” he adds. “We had quite a few wet eyes in the small party we had [to celebrate]. When you play for Liverpool, winning means so much.

“For ‘The King’ to be emotional means we’ve done something pretty well. He was brought up as a player and a manager here and he was used to success – winning league titles and Champions League year in and year out.

“For this club to go 30 years without winning the league was something we had to change. That’s why people were more emotional than usual.

“I’m hopeful we won’t have to wait 30 years for the next one. Hopefully, winning the league will become a normal thing again for Liverpool.”

As Robertson’s star continues to rise, he appears content and assured amid the public attention he receives as a high-profile figure for both club and country. But he admits that coping with the pressures which accompany success have prompted both him and his partner Rachel, who have two young children, to confront any potential mental health issues.

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“It is so important,” says Robertson. “The higher up you go in football, the harder things can get. At Queens Park, I maybe had one person scrutinising me and now I have millions of people.

“Mental health is a big thing for me. Me and my Mrs have got better at opening up to each other. It is so important and the first time you speak up is always the hardest. I used to be one for blocking things off but we are much more open as a family now, even with my mum and dad. We’ve always been really close but you need to talk if you are going through tough times.

“If you have worries and concerns it is so much better
to open up. I feel ten times 
better when I’ve spoken about concerns I have. Find a person you can speak to and open up. It really does lift a weight from your shoulders.”

l The Lockdown Tactics is a brand new podcast, hosted by former Scotland stars Robert Snodgrass and Kris Boyd. Every week TLT will interview big names with the core focus being on mental health and well-being.

It’s chosen charity partner is The Kris Boyd Charity.

To watch the full interview with Andrew, go to YouTube and the 
various TLT social platforms. It will be available from 4pm on Tuesday.

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