By Andrew Musgrove from The Football Circle
Lazy, frustrating and sublime in equal measure; Laurent Robert, the eccentric Frenchmen, made his name in the Premier League under Sir Bobby Robson at Newcastle United.
Costing an astonishing £9.5 million pounds from Paris St. Germain, after impressing in two seasons in the capital, many people bulked at the transfer fee, but they soon came around and understood just why Sir Bobby Robson forked out so much for a relatively unknown player.
A left-winger with an eye for goal and, on his day, a man with a left foot as good as David Beckham’s right; he scored some beauties for the Magpies and set up some vital goals during what proved to be their most recent period of success.
As a Newcastle fan, I’ve seen some superb players line up on the wings at St. James’; Nolberto Solano, Ruel Fox and, of course, the French magician David Ginola who was equally as eccentric as Robert but not one of them could cross a ball as well as him or strike a shot with such power and accuracy.
To people who only watched Robert on Match Of The Day you may very well have only have seen the good and therefore will not understand just how frustrating it could be to watch the winger.
Sometimes he would sulk and fail to track back, leave his partner in crime, Oliver Bernard, exposed. At other times he would turn the opposition inside out, leaving them for dead with a deadly burst of speed, before unleashing a spell-bounding cross or pile-driver shot.
Unsurprisingly, one man that loved him was Alan Shearer, who was a beneficiary of his sweet left foot on many occasions. Although one of the Frenchman’s main deficiencies may have been his inconsistency, his sublime displays will always outline the memories of all those average days he had.
For me, Robert’s best performance came in 2001 against Arsenal, when Newcastle United won 3-1 at Highbury; where he won a penalty and scored the third – magically lifting top of the Premiership.
Nonetheless, it will be his goals that he is remembered for: the 40-yard free-kick against Southampton, his rocket bolt against United and his fantastic double against Tottenham; the list goes on!
Yet, for me, his greatest goal was that moment of inspiration against Fulham, a moment which could so easily sum up the Frenchman; wonderful, unpredictable and unique… Laurent Robert.
Andrew is the Editor of The Football Circle, who you can follow him on Twitter here.