Scotland coaching staff expect Andy Robertson to lead the national team for years after appointing him captain. At 24, the Liverpool left-back succeeds Scott Brown as skipper and could easily wear the armband for the next decade or more.
He was chosen above all other candidates for his humility, leadership and a “Roy of the Rovers” rise to prominence. Released by Celtic as an under-15 player for being too small, Robertson joined Queen’s Park, then Dundee United, Hull City and, last summer, Liverpool.
Robertson, pictured with Alex McLeish below, played in the Champions League final against Real Madrid in May and is by far the most high-profile Scottish footballer of his generation. His appointment as captain makes perfect sense to all who admire his work.
“We spoke about it at our first meeting after the Peru and Mexico trip,” explained the Scotland goalkeeping coach, Stevie Woods. “We thought it was a new campaign with new blood and we wanted to give a bit of respect to a big member of the playing staff.
“We felt Andy was the right man. He’s been playing at the highest level for a couple of years now so he was the perfect candidate to be captain. He’s perfectly equipped from the way he trains, the way he speaks and the way he handles himself. It’s the way a Scotland captain should do it.
“There is longevity in his captaincy, too. He is young enough that he should be here for a few campaigns yet. We felt it was the right time to do it. You can’t take anything for granted but it’s a great starting point. To be playing for Liverpool and hopefully challenging for titles and the Champions League, that excellence can maybe rub off on the Scotland team.”
Robertson’s progress from Queen’s Park reserves to the pinnacle of club football is a real-life fairytale. “It really is a Roy of the Rovers story. He’s the boy who has done good. He’s been humble all the way through it and he’s humble now,” said Woods.
“You would never expect him to be the player who played in a Champions League final and who has done so well for Liverpool. That’s a credit to him. As a nation, we’ve got to be humble and we’ve got to work hard. Andy is the epitome of that. It’s an excellent choice.”
Scotland players and staff looked up to Robertson even before manager Alex McLeish’s decision to appoint him captain. “I was involved in [McLeish’s] first two games against Hungary and Costa Rica and I was impressed with him as a player,” stated Woods.
“He’s continued that consistency all the way through, every time he’s come to represent Scotland. That’s made an impression on the coaching staff and the rest of the players.
“His approach is one of: ‘Do as I do.’ He leads by example. He takes the ball under pressure, which is what we want. He’ll never shy away from a tackle and he looks like he’s going to give all his energy for Scotland and Liverpool. If every Scotland player was to perform to his capabilities, we’d be in great shape.”