Knowing he had to make the tough call to leave Everton prior to the 2019/2020 season, Antonee Robinson will feel entirely vindicated for making that decision, as he enjoyed a fine campaign at Wigan Athletic.
Despite suffering relegation with the Latics due to their devastating points reduction, Robinson relished getting valuable playing time which is so crucial for any young player. A shining light in Wigan’s turbulent season, his comments to The Echo illustrate how much he enjoyed the season at Wigan. “I do think you need to be in an environment that brings you confidence,” he explained.
“At Wigan I’ve been in a team of lads who all thought really highly of me.The gaffer had so much trust in me, playing me week in and week out and that built me confidence in myself that I’m a trustworthy-enough player to be starting week in, week out so I must be good enough. I just kicked on from there and it’s been really good for my development”
As a result of his excellence, the American international’s drawn many admirers including AC Milan (who he almost joined in January), Fulham, Sheffield United, Newcastle United and West Ham United. Considering he’s reportedly only going to cost £1.5 million courtesy of Wigan’s relegation, and that’s an absolute steal for a player of his quality and potential.
A huge threat going forward, the running power and dynamism of the 23-year-old sees him maraud forward at every available opportunity. Brimming with enthusiasm, his blistering pace and agility, with and without the ball, make him a tough man to contain for backtracking wingers, who are typically not the best or most willing defenders.
It’s important to note how effectively he times his runs, for he does a top job of stretching backlines horizontally and vertically while successfully drawing out defenders to produce gaps in opposition backlines. The fact his threat draws double marking from his foes to open up key spaces inside or upfield for colleagues to exploit amplifies his effectiveness. Key in breaking down opposition wide structures with his blindside runs, third man runs and slick pass and move exchanges, this, in combination with how he helps form overloads to bypass the press, duly increases his worth. By regularly receiving passes in a forward facing shape at speed, this means he’s so hard to combat for backpedaling, uncomfortable defences.
Accompanying the above with his classy dribbling, Robinson’s very competent in this regard. Able to unbalance and outfox markers with his blend of pace, alterations in speed and direction, feints, shimmies, stepovers and disguised passes, Robinson has a tidy arsenal of moves. Enjoying getting on the end of switches or quick transitions, he thrives being isolated against his opponent where he can use his aforementioned skills to beat his man or gain room to fire in crosses and cutbacks.
How he remains balanced so he can ride challenges and draws out multiple markers to manufacture space for others offers extra reason for positivity.
Although he can strike some poor deliveries, where he sometimes doesn’t get his balance or set his feet right, he still hits many incisive balls into the box. As illustrated in the graphics below, he notably strikes some measured cutbacks and crosses into the box, where he’s quick to spot his targets and fire the ball in accordingly. It’s been encouraging to see him change the angle of attacks, hit tidy through balls in behind and down the channels and combine sharply in confined spaces.
Meanwhile, on the defensive end, he’s proven himself to be a sound contributor. Tracking runners diligently and awake to their movement, his awareness and speed have ensured defenders struggle to beat him in behind. His swiftness also means he can cover for a colleague and support his backline if his team needs it. By checking over his shoulder and the nearby area, he gains an updated picture of his surroundings to observe where opponents are so he can take action.
Boasting such quick reactions and incredible mobility has served him wonderfully in 1v1 duels, where he responds brilliantly to win back possession, thus making him a formidable foe to outfox.
Full of energy and intensity, his pressing is another bonus, where he jumps out to get touchtight to harry markers so they can’t turn him or cleanly control possession. Indeed, this aspect produces doubt in foes’ minds and contributes to them feeling uneasy receiving with their back to goal especially.
By the numbers, his 3.90 progressive runs p90, 2.69 completed dribbles p90, 1.41 accurate crosses p90, 8.04 ball recoveries p90, 6.36 interceptions p90 and 3.48 counterpressing recoveries p90 shows his two-way threat.
All things considered, the team who wins the race to sign the in-demand youngster will be getting exceptional value for money on the hugely gifted Robinson. With such massive scope for improvement and refinement in his game, his future certainly looks to be littered with upside for the club who snaps him up.
He now just needs to choose the right team so he can continue on his upward trajectory.