The reverberations around Australian midfielder Alexander Robertson grew a little louder this week with his inclusion in The Guardian newspaper’s annual list of the 60 best young talents in world football.
Not that the 17-year-old Manchester City prospect was letting the accolade take up too much head space, saying simply “ah, that’s nice” when informed by former Socceroo father Mark.
As understated off the field as he is highly-rated on it, Robertson is the sole Australian among a gallery of guns which last year featured Hoffenheim’s Australian rookie Noah Botic, who went on to star at FIFA’s U-17 World Cup in Brazil.
Yet to commit his international future to either Australia or England - having appeared for both at junior level - Robertson told The World Game: “My dad sent it (the list) to me and it’s nice to see that some people think highly of me.
“It shows I’m probably doing a few things right.
“I’m happy with my progress - I’ve just turned 17 and I’m playing in the Under-23s at Manchester City and couldn’t ask for anything better, to be honest.”
After a blistering pre-season in which Robertson scored a treble against Blackpool, he’s just returned to training after a minor hip flexor injury forced him out of the England U-18 squad ahead of two friendly internationals.
Contracted at the Eitihad until 2023, Robertson anticipates possibly going out on loan next season as part of a development process he hopes will lead into Pep Guardiola’s senior squad.
“You see players like Harry Kane and David Beckham going out on loan early in their careers,” he added.
“Players do that to gain experience and in this game everyone has a different pathway.
“I’m open and happy to do whatever it takes to be successful. If that means going out on loan I’m happy to do that.
“But right now I’m looking to get games under my belt with the Under-23s.”
Robertson, who models his game on Steven Gerrard and has an eye for goal reminiscent of Frank Lampard, says he’s keeping “an open mind” on where his international allegiances might turn, with the possibly also existing to play for birth country Scotland or Peru, the land of his mother.
“I joined (an Australian U-20 camp) camp last year in Holland and it was a good experience,” he said.
“I needed a day or two to get to know the boys there because they were all older than me.
“I’m keeping an open mind ... I like playing for England, Australia was good but I haven’t played for Peru or Scotland yet.
“We’ll see what happens in the future. I’ll just take it slowly - I’m not somebody who rushes into things too much or overthinks things.
“Concentrating on club football is important - the league we play in and the FA Youth Cup are all vital to me.”
Robertson said there’s been no pressure from dad Mark or grandad Alex - both of whom wore the green and gold - to opt for Australia.
“They just support me as much as they can and try and guide me in the right direction,” he stressed.
Father Mark also downplayed Robertson’s elevation to the 60-best brigade, explaining: “It’s nice recognition for him but it’s not a guarantee of how a young player’s career is going to unfold. The hard work continues.
“It’s all about doing well for your club consistently - that’s what really matters.
“Alexander is lucky enough to be at one of the biggest clubs in the world, so it’s probably a bit easier to get noticed.
“He just needs to keep his head down and keep working at it, which I know he will.”