The race to win the international allegiance of Manchester City’s Sydney-raised teenage talent Alex Robertson is hotting up, with Peru and Scotland joining England and Australia in pursuit of the gifted midfielder.
Dave Lewis

27 Sep 2018 - 6:42 PM  UPDATED 27 Sep 2018 - 6:42 PM

Already capped twice by England, 15-year-old Robertson wasn’t released by City for the Joeys’ AFC Championships campaign in Malaysia because the tournament falls outside FIFA-designated windows.

And now Peru are knocking at the door of a player said to possess the elusive qualities of a budding Frank Lampard, the bite of a mini-Roy Keane and an almost Tim Cahill-esque potential in the air.

Robertson, whose father Mark and granddad Alexander both played for the Socceroos, was born in Scotland and is eligible for Peru through his mother.

Aware of his qualities, the Peruvian FA recently sent a delegation to Manchester on a charm offensive, complete with a presentation package highlighting the pathway open to him in the future.

“Peru have asked him to play in the Under-17s World Cup next year (which they are hosting) and want to parachute him straight into their team,” revealed Mark Robertson, who had a nine-year professional career in England and Scotland.

“Probably every young player would be tempted to say ‘yes’ to an experience like that.

“There are a lot of different scenarios between now and then but it’s quite sexy to think he might get a taste of South American football.”

But the plot thickens with Australia attempting to qualify along with Scotland, whilst England will certainly be there next June.

“The way he’s going, England might also call him up, although it’s a year above him, (not to mention Australia and Scotland should they qualify),” added Robertson.

Ironically, the FFA’s head of national teams Luke Casserly is convinced that if Robertson were in Kuala Lumpur this week he would have held the key to their qualification hopes.

Robertson, who doesn’t turn 16 until April, is already taking Spanish lessons, though father Mark points out “that will help at a Man City as well because of the Spanish contingent there.”

The youngster is keen to keep all options open at this point, and won’t be officially tied to any one nation until he makes a senior debut in an official FIFA match.

“I appreciate the effort the FFA have also made in contacting Alex, and being straight up front and also with the Scottish FA doing likewise,” added Robertson.

“I have friends and former professional colleagues in the Scotland set-up (ex-Perth Glory striker Stuart McLaren and coach Billy Stark) and then there’s England who have been brilliant.

“They’ve shown a lot of faith in Alex, even inviting him into camps when he was out for nine months (with a serious hip flexor injury).

“They really like him and it’s an ongoing relationship because it (St George’s Park training base) is so close and because it’s such a challenge.

“You have to be at the top level to play for England. You don’t fluke your way into their squads.

“He gets treated the same way as the first team when he’s at St George’s Park and they’re at nearly every single one of his games.”

Alex already has a portfolio of goals to his name, and having been poached by City from rivals Manchester United nearly a year ago, is seen by the Etihad Stadium hierarchy as an outstanding prospect.

When the time comes to make a call, Mark would love him to opt for Australia.

“There are no commitments to anybody at this stage - it’s an open book,” added Robertson, now a scout based in Manchester.

“I’m a dinky-di Australian. I was born and raised there and my passion was always to play for Australia.

“Alex came to the country when he was five and lived in Australia till he was 12.

“He went to Westfield Sports High and had an Aussie accent when he came back to the UK.

“The rest will be what it will be for him. Ultimately, any decisions are up to him. I am there to guide him as any father would.

“If he falls over, I pick him up dust them off and push him back out there.

“I wouldn’t be shutting the door on Australia at this point. I think there’s a long long way to go.

“Asked me in for four years time and I might be able to say he is going to make this decision or that decision.

“Right now, the kid is 15 years old and we’re not deluded and looking at him being a world superstar tomorrow.

“He’s got a lot to improve on but at the same time he’s a hell of a talented prospect.”