'He talked me through games in my first three months' - Liverpool defender Andy Robertson hails former Hibs ace for shaping career
Scotland captain has paid tribute to ex-Tannadice team-mates for helping mould him into the Champions League-winner he is today
Speaking ahead of Liverpool's Club World Cup semi-final with Monterrey in Doha, defender Andy Robertson reflected on a memorable 12 months with the Anfield side.
Much has been made of his gradual rise to the top from Queen's Park, to Dundee United, to Hull to Champions League-winner with Liverpool but despite some of the famous names he has played alongside in England, he insists he owes much of his success to an unassuming duo from his time at Tannadice.
John Rankin and Paul Paton - neither player a defender, much less a full-back - were namechecked by the Scotland captain as he revealed his approach to games has remained the same for the last six years.
“I have approached every game in the last six years in the same way. I don't change that,” he told The Herald.
“It's helped me to adapt to being at Liverpool. I've not had to change the way I prepare for games [or] change the way I get ready. It's just been a continuing process but, obviously, in slightly bigger games.
“If I struggle against someone or with something then I’ll look at it and try and improve it. I’ve got world-class players around me and if they tell me something, or the manager tells me something, I’ll take it on board."
Rankin spent three-and-a-half seasons at Easter Road before leaving for the City of Discovery, where he played for five seasons. Paton - like Robertson, a former Spider - joined from Partick Thistle at the start of the 2013/14 season.
“At Dundee United the likes of John Rankin was massive for me because he effectively talked me through games in my first three months," Robertson continued.
“Maybe he didn’t get the credit he deserved but I certainly appreciated his advice when I was young and I am the player I am now because of people like John.
“Some young lads nowadays can think the old boys are on their case and shy away from it but I wanted John Rankin and Paul Paton to tell me my negatives because that got the best out of me.”