Following the news that Antonee Robinson had put pen to paper on a deal to bring him to Craven Cottage, we asked a couple of Wigan Athletic fans to give us the inside track on Fulham’s first signing of the summer. It turns out the flying full-back has made a real impression during his two seasons at the DW Stadium.
Mark Warren, a Lactics season-ticket holder, said:
‘Obviously, all the sales are necessary because of the horrible mess that Wigan have been allowed to get into, but I can’t help feel a tinge of sadness that Robinson has moved on. Rest assured you are getting a real player, with great attacking attributes, the very definition of a modern full back. But what really impressed me was his attitude. He’s got great energy and pace on the field but he never gives up. We saw that towards the end of this season. After the move to Milan didn’t happen, I half expected Robbo not to be the same player. There was even a question mark about whether he’d be back after the heart problems were discovered. But, by all accounts, he worked exceptionally hard to get back to full fitness after his treatment and he made a real contribution during the run in. The Premier League will ask him plenty of different questions but I have a feeling he can be a real star. I wish him all the best.’
Barry Worthington, a contributor to the Progress with Unity Podcast, told me:
‘Antonee’s biggest asset is his pace. He’s unbelievably quick and uses it to rectify the odd mistake defensively. Going forward, he’s excellent. His stats were the best at the club last season. I would say he can go all the way. I’m sure he will shine with you next season. I’m very sad to see him go.’
The comments about Robinson’s attitude and his blistering turn of speed perhaps give a hint as to why Fulham were so keen to sign the American international. There were scarcely concealed rumours of trouble in the camp when the Whites went up under Slavisa Jokanovic and bringing in strong characters with the right frame of mind is vital to avoid any repeat. Secondly, Fulham were woefully short of any pace in the top flight last time – and Robinson will add that, crucially at the back, but also in the final third as he likes to burst forward. One of his most telling contributions in a Bolton shirt was to create a winning goal at Sheffield United, something that is said to have sparked Chris Wilder’s interest in bringing him to Bramall Lane. He’ll certainly be quicker than Matt Targett, who played such an important role in helping that Jokanovic side get promoted.
There’s been some concern about what Robinson’s arrival might mean for Joe Bryan. Our Wembley hero doesn’t appear to be keen to go anywhere, stressing that he’s got unfinished business in the Premier League, but he has been defensively vulnerable in both divisions. Competition for places is essential in the top flight and Robinson certainly won’t be resting on his laurels, with an opportunity to further his international credentials in the most watched league in the world. He’ll fancy writing his own name in Fulham’s illustrious American history.