My tribe

Robertson: Villa management love our wingers

Aston Villa assistant manager John Robertson admits they love their wingers at Villa Park.

Former Scotland winger Robertson played in 243 consecutive club appearances for Nottingham Forest and, while the twinkle may have left his toes, bring up the subject of wingers and the sparkle returns to the eyes of Martin O'Neill's assistant.

"We love players here who can go past people. And there will always be a place for people like that in top sides. Especially wingers. I don't think there is anything like it. It still really excites me. I still get that nervous sense of expectation. It excites the crowd," he told the Daily Mail.

"Whenever Ashley Young receives the ball out wide at Villa Park, there is a sense of anticipation. That lovely anticipation that something is going to happen. You don't find that in any other area of the pitch.

"I definitely felt it myself when I was playing. can sort of hear the crowd in your head saying; "Go on, son, have a go at him." OK, there is something to be admired about a well-executed one-two straight through the middle of a defence. But you don't feel that expectancy, like you do on the wing. I never understood the concept that it could be a lonely business, being a winger, when I was playing. But I do now.

"Brian Clough used to say this, 'When you are on the wing, you are on your own.' You can't go backwards because you'll be retreating to the touchline. can't go sideways and return the ball to the full back because the impetus of the attack is sometimes lost.

"There aren't many of those players about. It speaks volumes that two of the world's best can do exactly that. I'm talking about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"It remains a gladiatorial contest; winger versus full back and, once I found I could beat people, l loved it. I could worm my way out of situations. It's the same in the books I read now. I'm guessing which way they are going to twist and turn. I suppose it appeals to my psyche."

About the author

Tribal Football Staff

Have your say
  • Add your favourite leagues and clubs
  • Build your own personal news stream
  • Easily share your favourite stories
  • Connect with what your friends are saying

Select your favourite
leagues and clubs
to get started.

Already part of MyTribe?