April 4 – Alex Robertson, a box-to-box midfielder, has pledged his international allegiance to Australia despite representing England at both U17 and U18 levels.
The Scottish-born rising star, twice named on the bench for Manchester City this season, has followed both his father and grandfather by representing the Socceroos.
Robertson turned down the opportunity to play for England, Scotland and Peru — where his mother was born — as he believes in Australian head coach Graham Arnold, who was a surprise success at last year’s FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar. The Socceroos reached the last 16 at Qatar 2022, beaten 2-1 by eventual champions Argentina.
Robertson’s call-up for March’s back-to-back friendlies against Ecuador is a step in the right direction for the Socceroos to improve their world ranking of no.38. He was one of four uncapped players included in the squad, with Melbourne City duo of Jordan Bos and Aiden O’Neill as well as Adelaide shotstopper Joe Gauci given the nod.
The Sydney-raised teenager, who represented the Socceroos at U15 level, made a winning start in a coveted gold jersey as the hosts subjected new Ecuador head coach Felix Sanchez to a losing start.
Robertson joined the action as a 62nd-minute substitute for attacking midfielder Keanu Baccus, and played a part in Australia’s final goal of a well deserved 3-1 victory.
However, the 19-year-old was also involved in a late scuffle in the encounter, in front of his father Mark and grandfather Alex who watched inside the CommBank Stadium in Parramatta, near Sydney. His father played one international in 2001, and his grandfather represented the Australia B team in 1984.
With Arnold running his eye over the plethora of talent at his disposal ahead of Australia’s 2026 World Cupcampaign later this year, Robertson made enough of an impression to be rested for the second friendly against Ecuador. The Socceroos fell 2-1 inside Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium.
Robertson moved to England in 2015 after a trial with Manchester United. Two years later he moved to rivals Manchester City, where he has been steadily rising through the ranks and is deemed to be a future hot-shot. He’s now a mainstay for City’s Elite Development Squad, who are chasing a third Premier League 2 crown on the bounce.
As Robertson regularly trains with the first team, and plays in a no.8 position like Belgian team-mate Kevin De Bruyne, City head coach Pep Guardiola has this term included the promising youngster twice as a substitute. Robertson warmed the bench against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup and against RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League.
With City still in with a shot of winning the Champions League, the FA Cup and the Premier League title, then Robertson may still be given a chance to showcase his silky skills this season.
City’s FA Cup semi-final clash against unfancied Championship side Sheffield United at Wembley Stadium on April 22 has Guardiola’s troops heavily favoured to win inside 90 minutes, with low odds of just 17/100.
Sheffield United have failed to find the back of the net in their past four Premier League meetings with City, losing each game. However, the Blades lie second to runaway Championship leaders Burnley, with a real chance to return to the top division for the first time since being relegated at the end of the 2020/21 season.
The four-time FA Cup winners, according to most sites listed on bookmaker reviews Australia, seem unlikely to tackle another final. They are priced as a generous outside shot of 12/1 to topple City over 90 minutes. Even a draw, at odds of 15/2, points to heavily favouring Guardiola’s side getting the job done and dusted.
Goal machine Erling Haaland bagged a hat-trick against Burnley in a 6-0 demolition job for City in their one-sided FA Cup quarter-final. If the Norwegian ace is included for the semi-final showdown then Sheffield United head coach Paul Heckingbottom, a former defender, will have to ensure that his players don’t succumb to the same sort of fate.
The reward for the winning side will be a return to the iconic Wembley Stadium to tackle either star-studded Manchester United or in-form Brighton & Hove Albion in May, and Robertson will be aiming to soak up the atmosphere whether he’s on the pitch, bench or in the stands.
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