Alex Robertson: Why Portsmouth possess the 'best player' in League One and the chances of keeping Manchester City loanee at Fratton Park

Alex Robertson has featured 21 times for Pompey to date following his move from Manchester City in the summer
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Pompey midfielder Alex Robertson has been labelled ‘the best player in League One’.

That’s the verdict of The News’ Jordan Cross, who believes the on-loan Manchester City ace has soared above the best of the rest in the division with his Blues’ performances,

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The talented 20-year-old finds himself as the heart-beat of John Mousinho’s table-topping side as the Blues look to return to the Championship for the first time since 2012. His eye-catching performances have wowed the Fratton faithful as they dare to dream of promotion. His form has drawn the attention of Socceroos boss Graham Arnold as he prepares his side for next month’s Asian Cup. Meanwhile, his Pompey influence has surely made him a marked man as far as League One managers are concerned.

Some players might buckle under that sort of spotlight. But according to Cross, the Blues ace is revelling as his stock continues to rise. And that’s no surprise for a player who is believed to be head and shoulders above the rest in the division.

Speaking on the latest edition of Pompey Talk, our Blues writer said: ‘He (Robertson) is the best player in League One and a joy to watch.

‘I remember when Pompey signed Lassana Diarra. Don’t worry, I’m not comparing him to Lassana Diarra, but when we signed him, Harry Redknapp said: “Enjoy him while you’ve got him”. And it’s the same for Alex Robertson - enjoy him while you’ve got him!

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‘He is just ahead of everyone else in his spatial awareness and in his thinking - he’s two passes ahead of his rivals. He’s just taken his game to a new level in the last month. He was good and had settled quickly (at FrattonPark), but he’s really ramped it up over the past few weeks.

‘And what’s even more interesting is, he’s got all these qualities going forward in that 8-10 position but now, playing in that deeper role, it’s kind of like having another attacking player on the pitch. I think even Marlon Pack coming in for the past two games has really helped him. Marlon’s the type that will say to him (push on) and talk him through the game. Joe Morrell will, too, but perhaps not emphatically as Marlon would. Marlon would be: “Mate, go, go bomb forward” and give him that licence.

‘Robertson goes and does it, too - the footwork, his range of passing etc. I love these clips you get of him every game and they’re getting longer and longer. The best moments of Alex Robertson - they’re up to about two minutes now and it’s got to the point now where he’s actually not putting a foot wrong, which is incredible really!

‘On Saturday, I was doing the player ratings and I was sort of thinking Alex is letting the likes of Paddy Lane do the grandstand on this one, he’s just playing well under the radar. But then he just goes, bang! He went up two notches, took centre stage and took the game by the scruff of the neck. 

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‘He’s got quick feet to get away from players and I’ve seen Northampton players say how they’ve got good midfielders but Alex Robertson made them look very, very ordinary. It’s not knocking the Northampton players - it’s just testament to what a joy and classy operator Alex Robertson is.’

Chances of him staying beyond his season loan?

Let’s be honest, it’s something which we’re already thinking, given the impact Robertson has made. But what’s the chances?

That was put to Cross during Pompey Talk. Here’s how he responded: ‘He’s a fantastic player, but he’s not going to go back and walk into the Manchester City side at the moment,

‘There is a January recall option, which is always the case with these loans, but my little concern was the possibility of a Championship side trying to buy him in January permanently and City cashing in on him. That was my main concern but I put that to John Mosuinho last week and he was really confident about it (Robertson staying). He was like: “Why? He’s playing fantastically well, he’s getting experience. He’s a young lad who’s in the team every week. Why would he want to go?” That would have been my concern, but that has been debunked now!

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‘Could he remain beyond this season? Well, Pompey would have to be in the Championship and they would have to ask the question, which I’m sure they would do. 

‘It’s just the level he goes in at. He’s too good for League One. He’s a class operator at Championship level, you’d have thought. Perhaps not Premier League ready for Manchester City yet, which is no surprise.’