Australian starlet Alexander Robertson is “dreaming big” as he plans to fast-tack his journey into first team calculations with Premier League champions Manchester City.
The owner of a freshly-signed four-year contract, 16-year-old Robertson is looking to channel some of the feats of his agent, England and Liverpool great Michael Owen, as his own fledgling future revs up on the runway.
Goal addict Owen broke through for the Reds at just 17, and with the Three Lions after his next birthday to emerge as one of English football’s most exciting talents of his era.
Now 39, Owen has been in Robertson’s ear reminding him of the ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’ axiom in relation to his own ambitions on Pep Guardiola’s watch.
With those words bouncing around in his mind, the son of ex-Socceroo Mark Robertson won’t be sitting back counting the numbers on his contract.
Instead, the Scotland-born midfielder who lived in Sydney between the age of five and 12, told The World Game: “Michael knows what it’s like to break through young at club and international level and hopefully I can do the same.
“He’s been giving me loads of advice and I take in every word because he knows what it takes and has been there and done that.
“He’s told me that while this contract is an achievement I have to keep striving for bigger and better things and to work hard, enjoy myself and make sure the next one is even bigger and better.
“It’s great to have him in my corner. He’s really humble about his career and just wants me to get the best out of mine.
“It’s better to dream big than to dream small - and that’s what I’m doing.
“I have so many ambitions of what I want to achieve in football and in my life.
“It’s all going to be down to hard work and dedication. If you put in the work you’re going to get something out of it.”
Guardiola has shown he’s not afraid to gamble on youth, with homegrown fellow midfielder Phil Folden handed a Premier League debut at just 17, and now embedded in the senior squad less than two years later.
“No-one has a crystal ball and you never know what the future holds - all I can do is try my hardest to follow in footsteps of players like him at the club,” added Robertson.
“It goes to show the club does give opportunities - it’s about how you’re doing at the time and if you’re doing well you’ll get a chance.
“There’s always the possibility of going out on loan. Everybody’s pathway and future is different.”
Robertson’s contract includes one more year on scholarship before the three years as a fully-fledged professional kick in.
It’s not come easily, with the player citing Steven Gerrard, Iniesta and Dele Ali as his three greatest influences in terms of playing style as well as the sacrifices his family have made along the way.
“As a family we’ve been through a lot moving from Australia to England,” he added.
“We’ve had our ups and downs but Manchester City bought me when I jumped from Manchester United and to have just signed on for another four years is unbelievable.
“It’s a great feeling to know that’s my home for the next four years.
“The family has sacrificed a lot. It wasn’t easy at first but we’ve always stuck together (father Mark, mother Lucia and sister Taylor).”
After two seasons of injury setbacks with hip and ankle issues, Robertson has a clean bill of health as he steps up to play for City’s Under-18s this year.
“Over the past two seasons I’ve missed seven months each and I’m hoping for an injury free spell now,” he said.
“It’s been quite unfortunate and upsetting. But hopefully I’ll now be able to play a lot more games in the year ahead.
“I’ll be one of the youngest in the squad and will be playing against older players but that’s a challenge I have to step up to.
“I’ll be playing in the Under-18s Premier league competition and looking to push up to the Under-23s and hopefully then on to the first team.
“Something I want to bring to the team (this season) is goals, creating opportunities and hard work.”