Martin Rennie landed a major coup for the Vancouver Whitecaps by securing the services of Barry Robson. The Scottish international will likely have an immediate impact in midfield once he becomes eligible to play for Vancouver. Al Dannity looks at what Robson brings to the table for the Whitecaps.
A late bloomer
The difference between a journeyman and a veteran is subtle on the resume but easy to spot on the field of play. Barry Robson logged six years with Inverness Caledonian Thistle and another four and a half with Dundee United. It was with the Tangerines that he earned his first Scotland cap and this eventually led to a move to Celtic. There he won the Scottish Premier League (SPL) title and added a Scottish League Cup winner’s medal in just two and a half seasons. Robson followed former Celtic manager Gordon Strachan to Middlesbrough, where he has been a first-team regular for the last three seasons.
The SPL and Championship, where Middlesbrough play, are both defined by their physical style of play. With 16 years as a professional across these leagues and the lower levels of Scottish Soccer to his name, Robson is the kind of battle-hardened player who can make an immediate impact in Major League Soccer (MLS).
A dose of versatility
Robson has brought an attacking spark with him wherever he has played. Primarily a winger, Robson has experience playing across midfield, mean Martin Rennie will be able to move his fellow Scotsman around the field in MLS. Despite Vancouver’s impressive displays in MLS this season, they have been sorely lacking in goals. Robson can prove a creator from multiple positions and this will lead to more chances for Darren Mattocks, Eric Hassli, and Sebastien Le Toux.
Crucially Robson is arriving in Vancouver with the right attitude. Despite holding the coveted Designated Player status, Robson has been saying all the right things about what he needs to do to succeed with the Caps. “I don’t expect to play. I don’t. You can say what you like,” the 33 year old told The Victoria Times Colonist . “The team is doing very well. They’re sitting third in the league, playing well. It’s time for me to go and break in. Time for me to go and work hard and wait for my chance. That’s the way I work at any club I’ve been at.”
Robson won’t become eligible to play until June 27, meaning his debut for the Caps will likely come at Colorado on July 4. The Whitecaps will have to trim their 20-man roster to make room for Robson before the end of June.
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