Antonee Robinson – Fulham’s Options at Right Back
Known as the Jedi, Antonee Robinson plays for Premier League club Fulham and the United States national team. A talented young player, he’s a perfect fit for both sides. However, it’s important for him to get some rest to avoid a serious ankle injury. Here’s a look at what Fulham’s options are at right back.
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Antonee Robinson’s ankle injury
Antonee Robinson limped off in the 29th minute against Tottenham with an ankle injury. The Fulham left back is expected to miss at least four weeks. Robinson has been a key part of the Fulham defense this season. Marco Silva is hoping he will be back in the team soon.
Antonee Robinson had made 29 appearances for the USMNT and scored two goals. He has featured regularly during the Concacaf World Cup qualification cycle.
Fulham played without him against Tottenham and Nottingham Forest. The left back was also unavailable for Fulham’s EFL Cup exit to Crawley Town in August. Since being promoted to the top flight in May, Robinson has been a regular starter. He has previously played for Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic.
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If Antonee Robinson is out, Fulham could go with Kevin Mbabu at full-back. The team is in the middle of a competitive Championship and could play a big match against a rival. However, they are also in the middle of a battle for a spot in Europe. They could potentially play Newcastle this weekend.
Antonee Robinson is an important part of the U.S. squad, but the team lacks reliable left back options. The injury prompted concern about Robinson’s future.
Fulham’s options at right back
Fulham is desperate to bolster their defense and have a number of options to choose from. The club have loaned out James Bryan and Layvin Kurzawa to other Premier League sides. However, they allowed Robinson to miss two games after picking up an injury against Tottenham Hotspur. While Fulham have been struggling in defence in recent weeks, they remain hopeful that Robinson's injury will not be long-term.
Robinson is a key player for Fulham, but there are still concerns about his fitness. Last season he was the most productive Fulham defender in the Championship, with two goals and four assists in 36 games (despite missing 10). His overall statistics were also impressive, with a total of 41 chances created, putting him seventh in Fulham’s league table. He also excelled at ball-winning duties, recording 47 successful tackles and 61 interceptions.
The United States national team have a long-standing problem at left back. Robinson, who plays for Fulham in England, could be the answer to the problem. For decades the United States have struggled to find a top left-back. The team has played two friendly games against El Salvador and Canada, and will face Jamaica in its next World Cup qualifier.
Despite Robinson’s recent rise, he is still a very young player. He is not yet 21, and has only three caps. Yet, he is considered one of the most promising prospects in U.S. soccer circles, and many are keen to see him shine.
Kenny Tete’s position at right back in U.S. squad
With Antonee Robinson still a doubt, Tete’s position at right back is in doubt. Tete tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago. Robinson could start on the left flank. Tete and Robinson have split starts so far, but Silva will still have a choice. Tete had a decent game against Nottingham Forest, where he took a shot on target, assisted a goal, cleared an area and won one tackle.
Although Robinson’s injury is not serious, the U.S. squad lacks a reliable left back. The injury has made Robinson questionable for the immediate future. Tete’s injury is a sign of the frailty of U.S. squad building.
Although he has been more reliable on the right side than at left, his defensive weaknesses are a concern. However, if Robinson is a doubt, he may not even be able to travel to Panama for Sunday’s game. In addition, Robinson may have to undergo quarantine upon his return to England. Besides, the U.S. player pool for left back is not deep. Dest is a better option on the right side than Robinson, while Sam Vines and Antonee Robinson are not in camp. Moreover, Berhalter has said that it is too early to call Joe Scally as a replacement. Scally has played 90 minutes in seven Bundesliga matches so far.
While Tete can feature at left back, his best position is at right back. A move between the two could change the impact of both positions. In two weeks, the United States will hold their last pre-World Cup camp and this could open up a spot for Sam Vines or Joe Scally. Until then, Fulham can only hope that Robinson remains injured for the long-term.