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Jedi Shines on International Debut

Reece analyses Antonee Robinson’s outstanding US National Team debut.

What better way was there to spend your bank holiday Monday evening, analysing the international debut of on-loan Wanderer Antonee Robinson for the USMNT in their 3-0 victory over Bolivia.

After being handed his first start for the US national team, Robinson lasted the full 90 minutes and put in a solid performance which grabbed the attention of many USMNT supporters.

Over the course of the Championship season, Robinson had a pass completion rate of 59%. However, Jedi completed 80% of his 35 attempted passes in last night’s game. An outstanding achievement for anyone, let alone an international debutant.

It was clear from the get go that Dave Sarachan, the Interim Head Coach of the national team, had instructed both full backs to remain defensive throughout the course of the game. Both he and Eric Lichaj, a player who has been linked with Wanderers this summer, rarely had the opportunity to explore further downfield.

His defensive performance statistics make for extremely interesting reading. Winning all of his eight attempted aerial battles and making fifteen interceptions, his athleticism was one of the many reasons as to why his name was put forward as a candidate for Man of the Match. One thing that really did impress me, was his determination to go into tackles without fear. On more than one occasion, the Bolivian’s weren’t too happy with the amount of strength the Everton loanee was putting into his challenges.

Perhaps the US Nationals didn’t see the full effect of Antonee’s attacking prowess that the Bolton Wanderers fans became so accustomed to during his season at the Macron Stadium. His blistering pace even caught the plaudits of former USMNT star and Wanderers fan favourite, Stuart Holden.

During his commentary with FS1, Holden said, “When he turns on the jets, he can run.” Holden also continued by naming Antonee as one of the stand out performers in the very inexperienced and youthful USMNT.

In the 59th minute, Robinson found himself one on one with the Bolivian full back. Cautiously holding back until the defender gave him some space, he provided a wonderful cross for Tim Weah to score his first goal for the USMNT and the third of the game.

Robinson created more key chances than any other player on the pitch, despite his more defensive role in the side. His defensive duties came into practise again in the 75th minute when he performed an incredible last ditch interception to deny Bolivia a clear goal scoring opportunity.

His performance was well worth suffering through a dodgy internet stream, noting down every time he was involved in the game and waiting up till the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Antonee, if you’re reading this, on behalf of everyone at Lion of Vienna Suite; a massive congratulations on an excellent first cap. An assist and a clean sheet on your international debut isn’t half bad. I wish you the best of luck for the coming months, but it has to be said, you do play really well in white.

I, along with so many other Wanderers fans, would take Robinson back in a heartbeat should the opportunity arise again.

Whatever happens, Everton and the USMNT really do have some player on their hands.