Andy Robertson has described sealing a move to Liverpool today as 'a dream come true' but insists he isn't coming to Anfield simply to make up the numbers.
The Scottish defender completed a switch from Hull City on Friday, signing a long-term contract to strengthen the Reds' options in the full-back position ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.
Sitting down with LFCTV after completing the formalities, Robertson could not hide his delight over having made the jump to a club offering Champions League football next term.
But he also set his sights on establishing himself in Jürgen Klopp's starting XI as quickly as possible.
You can watch the 23-year-old's first interview on demand with LFCTV GO now. Alternatively, read on for a full transcript.
Andy, congratulations. How does it feel to sign for Liverpool Football Club?
A wee bit surreal just now. Obviously I’m delighted. There’s been a lot of speculation over the last couple of weeks but I’m glad that the deal’s finally been done and I’m a Liverpool player.
What was your reaction when you first heard that a move here might be on the cards?
When any club like this comes up, you don’t get the opportunities a lot so obviously you start to think what it’d be like to play for a club like this, and play with the players that are here, so of course it’s a natural thing that you think about it. But I like to think that I’m quite focused and didn’t let it turn my head or anything, I was just concentrating on Hull. But when it came to pre-season there was a lot of speculation, I was trying to focus on getting fit most importantly, but I was thinking the move could be on the cards.
When it goes from being a possibility to a probability, how did you feel then? Who did you tell first?
I think when I got the phone call to say ‘it’s on’, my girlfriend was sitting next to me so naturally I told her first and we were obviously both over the moon and delighted. The next call’s obviously to your parents. My family are proud of what I’ve achieved so far and they’re all over the moon with the move, as well as me of course. We’re all just looking forward to being part of the Liverpool family now.
What was your girlfriend’s reaction, then?
She was just relieved and delighted that I’d finally got such a big move. I think she was more excited about moving to Liverpool as a city than anything! I think she’ll be happy with that.
Not many players get the chance to play for a club of this stature. Does it feel special?
Of course. There’s not many, if any, more special clubs than Liverpool. When you grow up as a kid you dream of playing with big clubs such as Liverpool and to make that a reality is a dream come true for me. I just want to prove to people that I can do it at this level, and hopefully I manage to do that this season and go on to do good things for this club.
How did it feel to pull on the club’s colours for the first time?
They brought me the training kit while I was getting my heart scan and I think that was when it really hit home. You finally see the colours and the crest and you think ‘that’s the club that I’m now representing’. It was a special moment for me and I just can’t wait to wear the shirt now.
What are your memories of watching Liverpool from afar down the years?
My last memory is quite a good one – we beat them at the K-COM! But at the start of the season we came to Anfield and we got a hiding. We got a man sent off early doors and I think it was five or 6-1 that day, and it was probably the longest game of football I’ve played to date! That’s the quality of these players - they can do that to any team, I believe, in this league. But we managed to get a vital three points at the KC last time and managed to stop the danger, but when you play a club like that you have to be wary of everyone across the park and I’m just happy that I’m now part of that.
How much do you think your Premier League experience will benefit you?
I’ve had two good seasons in the Premier League. Both of them obviously ended in disappointment, with relegation, but the experience you gain from that, playing against top quality players and coming up against teams like Liverpool and knowing what the standards are at these clubs, it stands you in good stead. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll be a change for me to be dominating games as such, because at Hull we did sit in and we were always kind of the underdogs. When you’re favourites that gives you an added pressure, but it’s pressure that you can see the players here relish and it’s hopefully one that I’ll relish.
What’s been the biggest change in your game since you moved to England from Scotland?
I think defensively I’ve come on leaps and bounds since I came down as a young boy from Dundee United. I think the season in the Championship was crucial for me, when I played well over 50 games, and obviously we were up there competing. On the flip side of that, my defensive game came on well and Steve Bruce was a massive part of that and I feel that when Marco Silva came in in January, he took my game to a whole new level. He gave a me a completely new understanding of the game and it’s one that I’ll always take forward. I know the manager here will take me, hopefully, to the next level.
Did you speak to Lazar Markovic, who you played with at Hull last season, about life at Liverpool?
No, [not with] the way the timings worked. It’s been in the press for a couple of weeks but it’s all been quite quick the last couple of days that it’s done. I had to fly back from Portugal and make my way down here, so I’ve just managed to see him outside for a couple minutes there but no, I didn’t manage to speak to him in length about it. But you don’t need to speak to somebody to know what it takes to play at this club and what the fans expect of you.
Give us a bit of background on your career before your move to Hull. You’ve had to bounce back from a few challenges to get to where you are today…
Of course. I think it’s becoming more common that a lot footballers are making it now after getting rejected at such a young age and I’m no different. I was at Celtic when I was younger and I ended up getting released when I was 15. I made the decision to go to Queen’s Park and I was there for three years in the youth set-up and then luckily I managed to get a year in the first team when Rangers were in the league. There was a lot of press around the Third Division at that time and I think that helped me, to play against Rangers in a full stadium at Ibrox, it gave me experiences I wouldn’t have got if it weren’t for their situation.
Then obviously I went to Dundee United for a year and it was a dream season for me, I couldn’t have done much better. Getting my Scotland cap was something I’d dreamed of as a young kid and to get that in my first year in professional football was a massive honour for me and all my family. Then Steve Bruce took a chance on me, I came down here and I think I hit the ground running from the get-go. I got thrown in at QPR and from there I didn’t really look back. In my first season I maybe had a couple of injuries that caused a wee bit of a stutter in my progress, but since then I’ve just kicked on and Hull’s been great for me.
How did you keep going after the disappointment of being released by Celtic?
At the start it was hard because I grew up in a Celtic family, I went to every Celtic game home and away, and to get released from your boyhood heroes, it’s hard. The next season at Queen’s Park, the way I was playing, I wasn’t myself and I did think about chucking it, it’d be a lie if [I said] I never thought about that. But the next season, they gave me faith and I managed to get my confidence back and I just kicked on from there. Since that moment, I’ve not really looked back.
Queen’s Park are an amateur team so you had to work while playing for them – how did you juggle those two things? Quite different to the situation you’re in now…
Of course. Luckily there was a man there who was a massive help for all the youth players. He helped me out massively by getting me a job with him working at Hampden, which gave me money in my pocket week to week, doing 9-5, but it’s a lot harder going to training at six o’clock at night after you’ve done a 9-5 shift! But my dream was always to become a professional footballer. Luckily, in the one season I was in the Queen’s Park first team, my mum and dad backed me financially as well and said you can take a year out and try and make a go of it, but after that you’ll need to look at other options. But luckily it all fell into place and it was just meant to happen.
To go from there to here in such a short space of time must blow your mind a little…
Of course, it’s all happened in the space of five years, which is a small amount of time in your lifetime. But I’m one of these people who just like to look forward, I don’t really look at my Queen’s Park days and Dundee United days now. Hull, that part of my life is just coming to an end, but I more like to look forward to see what I can do at Liverpool now, to see how I can test myself against the best and play with the best and see what levels I can go to. Hopefully it’s one where I play week in and week out for Liverpool at a high standard and I’m a player the fans can be proud of.
Do you think your history means you work harder now? Things haven’t just fallen in to place for you…
I would say so. Obviously, I’m still in touch with boys I played with at Celtic who were in the youth set-up until last year, they’re still in the U20s at the age of 21, 22. At that point, I’ve already played well over 100 professional games for Queen’s Park, Dundee United and Hull and that’s experience you don’t get. Playing in the Third Division in Scotland, you see some sights up there and it’s completely different to the glamour of the Premier League. But it does make you appreciate every minute you get to work and play and that’s something I’ll always carry with me.
You’ve also progressed to the international stage. How much has the experience of playing for Scotland helped you develop?
[It’s been] Massive. As a kid I dreamed of playing for Scotland. To represent your country is the biggest honour for somebody, especially the Scottish people, they take it very passionately and luckily I’ve managed to get 15 or 16 caps now and I want to keep on going. When I made my debut it was the proudest moment of my career and to get the experiences like the Scotland v England game [in June this year], how the fans reacted to the second goal, they’re the experiences that you wouldn’t get if you never played internationally so I’m grateful that I’m in that set-up and I hope to be in it for a long time.
You’ve played against some of your new teammates at club and international level now, what did you make of the quality of the squad you’re now part of?
I said it as soon as I came off the park, I thought in that game [Scotland v England in June] that Lallana was the best player on the park. The way he controlled the game, he caused us all sorts of problems. Lallana was different class that day. Obviously you see the world-class players they’ve got at this club and you’ve come up against them at Hull, they can rip you apart in a second. That’s something I want to be a part of and I want to help them be able to do that. I’m looking forward to training with these players and being able to train with them.
Lallana impressed you on the international stage, but is there one Liverpool player you’ve admired from afar? Or has the whole team impressed you?
I think it’s the team as a whole. I think the manager bases the team on team spirit and you can see that they’re so close and so together – you can see that by the way they celebrate goals, they do everything together on the park even when things maybe aren’t going well for them. So I think as a team, they’ve got so many threats. But of course there’s always going to be talk about your Coutinhos and Manes, the ones who steal the headlines, and I think they’re different class, top class players and I’m relishing playing against these boys in training and with them in games.
What target have you set yourself for the next 12 months?
I just want to get up to speed with where these boys are at. I want to enjoy training with them and playing with them, and enjoy representing the badge that we wear. I want to be a starting XI player at Liverpool. I don’t want to come here and think I’ll just be happy on the bench or I’ll just be happy being in a 25-man squad. That’s not the type of person I am, I want to play. I know it’s going to be hard work, the hardest work I’ve ever done, but I’m up for the challenge and it’s hopefully one I can succeed in.
And what about the target for the team as a whole over the coming season?
I think it’s got to be competing at the top of the league, that’s what they do season after season. Obviously the Champions League is a massive priority and we’ve got a qualifier in the next few weeks. We’ve got to try and get in the group stages and then kick on from there. But next season has got to be Champions League and competing for the title. Liverpool fans want trophies and we’ve got to hope that we can start getting to finals and competing for leagues and eventually win them and making the fans proud of the team that goes on the park every day.
You’ll be joining up with the squad in Germany very soon. How excited by the prospect of pulling on the shirt for the first time are you, potentially against a team like Bayern Munich?
Of course, there’s no better game than getting thrown in than against a world-class team like Bayern Munich. It could potentially be my first game in a friendly and it’s one I’ll look forward to, but just now I’m looking forward to all the boys coming back from Hong Kong and meeting them, trying to settle in as quickly as I can and train with them. It’s a quiet place here today so it’ll be good when all the boys come back and I can really start the settling-in process.
How much are you looking forward to playing for Jürgen Klopp? What are you expecting from that experience?
Everyone can see just from watching him on the sidelines that he’s so passionate and he gives the fans a lift and the players a lift. That’s a manager you want to play under and I’m no different to that, I like being passionate and trying to get everyone going. I want to play under him and I’m sure we’ll get on well and I’m looking forward to meeting him first and then playing under him. The start of the season’s not far away, so I’m hoping to settle in as quickly as possible with the manager and the players.
Finally, what are you looking forward to most of all here at Liverpool?
The thing I’m most looking forward to is my first day of training with all the lads, and then I’ll take it step by step. I’m looking forward to my first game and the Premier League’s not too far away and we look forward to the first game away to Watford. I’ll be up to speed by then, ready to kick on and hopefully have a successful season.