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England-born Robinson is fully committed to USMNT, and looks like left back of the future – football news

Antonee Robinson sat on a plane heading to the United States three years ago, doing his best to learn the words to a song he probably hadn’t spent much time thinking about before that trip.

Born and raised in England, Robinson was heading to U.S. Under-18 national team camp, his first call-up for a country he was eligible to play for, but had never lived in. As soon as the surprise call-up came, Robinson’s father let him know what he needed to do.

“My dad was the first one who said, ‘you’ll have to learn it,'” Robinson told Goal. “It was one of the first things he said. When I got called up he said, ‘you’ll need to learn the national anthem.’”

Robinson learned the words on that trip, and still knows them by heart. But after that one U-18 camp he hadn’t had a reason to use them, until a March call-up to the U.S. national team that he didn’t see coming.

It was an opportunity he has now capitalized on fully.

The 21-year-old defender has emerged as the leading candidate to fill the left back position for the United States in the next World Cup qualifying cycle. He has just two caps under his belt, but the early impression he has made has catapulted him from being relative unknown in U.S. Soccer circles, to a player seen as one of the team’s fastest-rising prospects.

How did Robinson come to be eligible for the United States? His England-born father Marlon moved to the United States during his childhood, living there nine years and going on to play college soccer at Duke University.

He secured his U.S. citizenship during that time, and several years later he took the proactive step to secure U.S. citizenship for his young son and daughter. As far as Antonee knew, the new passport his father got for him was going to help him have an easier time traveling stateside for family vacations.

Little did he know that passport would also clear a path for him to play international soccer.

The USMNT program came calling in March, around the same time that England’s Under-21 team reached out to him to attend a camp. It was the first time Robinson had ever been contacted by an England team on any level. 

“It just wasn’t even a decision,” Robinson said. “I was just like, ‘it’s clear to me which country showed more faith in me.’ Not only picking me at the youth level, but picking me for the first team, so I had to show that commitment right back.”

Robinson made his USMNT debut against Bolivia in May, earning a start despite admitting to letting nerves get the better of him in that training camp. The U.S. coaches saw through the nerves and still gave him his opportunity, and he responded with a strong performance in a 3-0 USA victory.

“When I found out I was starting the game it was pretty surreal,” Robinson said. “I remember at the start of camp I was quite nervous. I wasn’t performing as well as I wanted to be in training. Then the manager called in players into individual meetings and they called me in and they told me, ‘look, we’ve seen you’re quite nervous but you’re starting this game. We want you to be confident. You’re here for a reason so seize it.’”

Robinson did that with an outstanding performance that earned him another start against mighty France.

Antonee Robinson Antoin Griezmann 06082018

“It was like a movie,” Robinson said of the France friendly. “It was like being stood in the tunnel of a FIFA game and looking at every single star about to come out. It was surreal.”

Robinson didn’t let a sold-out crowd in Lyon, or France’s star-studded lineup overwhelm him as he held his own in another good showing that reinforced the growing sentiment that he was the future of the U.S. left back position.

A product of the Everton youth academy, Robinson has spent nine years at the Liverpool-based club, making the move up from the academy to the first team. He has yet to break into Everton’s first team, but a successful loan stint at Bolton last season was enough to convince the Toffees to sign him to a new deal as a potential future long-term replacement for Leighton Baines. Robinson could have made the decision to play out his contract and become a free agent next summer, but decided staying with his childhood club was the best move.

“It just showed to me that they give me a lot of faith with a three-year deal,” Robinson said. “They clearly have it in their mind that I should be starting or at least competing to be their left back. When a team shows you that sort of faith that’s a team you want to stay with.”

Everton sent him out on loan again this summer, to a Wigan club that is off to a flying start in the Championship. Robinson has played a key part in that early success, and is looking very much like a prospect moving closer to being ready to start for Everton.

“As long as I keep consistently getting better, not only for my club but for the U.S. as well, I’ll be in a good position,” Robinson said. “if I can keep showing that I can play well and keep developing areas of my game, who knows, then next year that could be the next step for me.”

“Fortunately I’ve gone to a club that plays really good football,” Robinson said of Wigan. “They’ve just come up and they’re really ambitious so we’ve gotten off to a great start at the minute.”

Antonee Robinson Wigan 08252018

Robinson will be hoping to carry that good club form into the USA’s upcoming friendlies against Brazil on Friday, and Mexico on Tuesday. As the latest dual-national to don the U.S. colors, Robinson acknowledges that there may be some doubts among fans about how committed he is, and just what playing for the United States means to him. 

He plans to keep letting his play show how committed he is.

“Every time I step onto the field for the U.S. it means something to me,” Robinson said. “I’m representing what I say is my country now. The fans have been really great towards me. I can understand where they come from in terms of some players wanting to choose which country they want to play for.”

Robinson also admitted that he’s looking forward to the USMNT’s upcoming friendly in November against England. He isn’t taking for granted that he will be called in but knows that if he is, there will be dozens of friends and family members ready to make the trip to London to watch him.

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And what will he do when the national anthems play that day? Robinson definitely won’t be singing “God Save the Queen.”

“No chance,” Robinson said. “I’ll watch respectfully, but I won’t sing it.”

Robinson is only singing one national anthem these days, and he knows the words by heart.

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Has Mesut Ozil Been BETRAYED By German Players After Racism Scandal? | #VFN – Football Daily

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‘Nigeria in Seychelles for serious business, not vacation’ – Gernot Rohr – football news

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has highlighted the importance of a win against Seychelles in Saturday’s 2019 African Cup of Nations encounter.

A 2-0 loss to South Africa in June 2017 saw the three-time African champions, who have failed to qualify for the last two continental tournaments, place third in Group E, with Libya and South Africa leading the way in that order.

Victory over bottom-placed Seychelles would put the Super Eagles back on track; a result the German handler insists his side must get.

“Everyone realizes the importance of this match. We are currently number three in our group and that position does not befit Super Eagles of Nigeria,” Rohr told thenff.com.

“It is not good for us because it is outside the qualification range.

“The players know this. They know that on Saturday they have to show character to put our campaign back on track with a good result.”

“We are not here on vacation. We are here for serious business,” he stated.

“We have a young, ambitious team and Nigeria has a better pedigree in the game of football than Seychelles. But we must not underrate them in any way or take things for granted.

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“The World Cup is behind us now, but we must allow the lessons we learnt in Russia to make us better and more efficient in our approach.

“The Cup of Nations is the focus now and we must get a good result on Saturday to get our campaign back, and then we can now look ahead with determination to win the remaining matches in our group to qualify easily for the championship.”

 

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20 Most Shocking Moments In Football

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Mertesacker relieved to have avoided playing time during final season with Arsenal – football news

Per Mertesacker has spoken of his relief at having avoided playing time during his final season with Arsenal.

The World Cup-winning defender called time on a 15-year playing career at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.

At 33 years old, the former Germany international decided to hang up his boots and move into a role as academy manager within Arsenal’s youth set-up.

He made just 12 appearances during what proved to be a farewell tour for both himself and Arsene Wenger at Emirates Stadium.

Mertesacker claims to have felt “happy” at being sidelined for long periods, telling BBC Sport: “Especially in my last year, I felt something and felt the pressure and it was very awkward sometimes.

“I was happy about not necessarily playing, just training was enough for me.”

Mertesacker has spoken in the past of his struggles with the stresses of professional football.

He admitted in March to having felt sick at times, such was the pressure he placed on himself.

Jerome Boateng, Thomas Muller, Per Mertesacker Germany 2014 World Cup

Those claims have now been repeated, with a man who graced the very top of the game revealing that the announcement of his retirement helped to lift a weight off his shoulders.

Mertesacker, speaking at the launch of a project to help child refugees in Jordan through football, added: “Being in a career and going from highlight to highlight and playing a lot of matches you go through it and think it’s normal when you play in front of 60,000 and you almost want to vomit in front of every game.

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“It’s not right playing these games to have that fear about what’s going on with me. The fact that I actually felt better after saying: ‘I’m going to stop,’ I had less pain.”

A man who helped Germany to World Cup glory in 2014 and earned 104 caps for his country added: “Sometimes you don’t feel like doing sports or don’t feel like doing workouts [where you are] spending eight weeks together and you just don’t see your family.

“So it [football] has taken some bits and pieces as well – my health at one or two stages where you give absolutely everything and your body is just exhausted and you try to continue but your body says: ‘I’m done. I need an injury, I need a break.’ That’s what I’ve experienced.”

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BEST FOOTBALL VINES – NEW 2018 – GOALS, SKILLS, FAILS #5

by Joga Bonito

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Nigeria defender Omeruo eyes 2019 Afcon qualifiers Group E top spot – football news

Kenneth Omeruo hopes Nigeria get a win over Seychelles in Saturday’s 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifiers to improve their standing in Group E, and ultimately help clinch the top spot.

The Super Eagles started their Afcon qualifying campaign on the wrong foot with a 2-0 home loss to South Africa in June 2017. The result meant they are third in the log.

Libya, after getting five unreplied goals past Saturday’s hosts Seychelles, top the group with Stuart Baxter’s side behind them. Both teams trade tackles in the other group match.

And while a win in this round does not guarantee Gernot Rohr’s men the group’s summit, it does help to get their campaign back on track and place them in contention for the top slot, as the Leganes defender wishes for.

“On paper, we are favourites but we all know there are no more minnows in African football,” Omeruo told reporters.

“We have to focus on the game and win on Saturday to get back to the top of the table of the AFCON qualifiers, so we will approach the game with all seriousness and try to pick all maximum points.”

The new format set to debut at the 2019 Afcon will see an increase in teams participating with 24 nations, as opposed to the previous 16, set to get involved in Cameroon.

Alongside hosts Indomitable Lions, 12 group winners and 11 best runners-up will qualify for the continental showpiece.

Meanwhile, with centre-back William Troost-Ekong and all of Rohr’s options at right-back ruled out of the clash, it is yet to be seen what role Omeruo plays against Gavin Jeanne‘s men on Saturday.

 

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Real Madrid announce biggest revenue increase in 18 years – football news

Real Madrid have recorded their biggest 12-month increase in revenue for 18 years, according to financial figures released by the club.

In the year the Santiago Bernabeu outfit won a third consecutive Champions League crown as well as the Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Supercopa de Espana, they announced an income of €750.9 million (£674m/$874m) for 2017-18, not including fees recouped from player sales.

This marks an 11.3 per cent jump from their figures the year before, which is the largest increase since 2000, when Florentino Perez first became president.

Madrid’s net profits stand at €31.2m (£28m/$36m), a 45.9 per cent increase on the previous financial year. The club’s net worth has therefore risen to €494.5m (£443m/$575m).

They are in profit for the third year in a row, with net debt now at -€107m (£96m/$125m). That net liquidity increase is €96.7m (£87m/$112m) up from last year, which they report as “the greatest reduction to debt achieved by the club in the last 15 years”.

Forecasts suggest a revenue of €752m (£675m/$875m) for the 2018-19 season excluding player sales, with pre-tax profits in the region of €43.2m (£39m/$50m).

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The club’s general assembly will meet on September 23 to submit the financial results for approval and discuss the prospect of outside financing to help the redevelopment of the Santiago Bernabeu.

Despite the loss of five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo after another successful season on and off the field for the club, Madrid are hoping new coach Julen Lopetegui can continue their dominance of Europe’s top competition as they target a fourth straight crown.

They start their Champions League campaign with a game against Roma on September 19, after a visit to Athletic Club in La Liga.

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