Patrick Roberts: A Scout report on the Teenage sensation
AGE – 17
Height- 1.67 m
Position- Second Striker/ Right-Winger
Patrick Roberts has been a subject of immense speculation over the last 6-8 months with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal keen on signing the Fulham youngster. He joined Fulham ranks from Ashford Town FC at 13 and was rewarded with his first professional contract in February 2014, that runs till the end of 2016. He shot to fame with his performances for Fulham as well England junior teams and was subsequently rewarded by manager Felix Maggath with a debut against Manchester City on 22nd March, 2014.
Roberts can play on the wings as well as second striker and play maker and has the perfect of attributes for these positions. He has a low centre of gravity, meaning he can twist and turn his way swiftly around a defender. Though primarily left-footed, he has shown good abilities with his right foot, which adds a great amount of uncertainty to his game. Not many footballers exude the confidence Roberts does aged just 17. He has demonstrated very good close control and dribbling abilities and this serve him in good stead on the wings as well as in the play-making role.
With Fulham in Championship, Roberts has been afforded a decent amount of playing time this season. He has made 11 appearances, most of them as substitutes and has clocked just over 300 minutes. He has a solitary assist to his name from 7 chances that he created this season. years of age, the youngster has shown that positional awareness and has demonstrated footballing intelligence that very few possess.
The Englishman has averaged a passing accuracy of more than 80% despite primarily making forward passes from his attacking position and that illustrates an ability to find his team mates in key areas. His primary strength has been dribbling ability and close control and it comes as no surprise that he has averaged more than 4 successful take-ons per 90 minutes while on the pitch. Fulham’s season began in a disarray and any hopes of promotion back to the lucrative Premier League will require a consistent set of performances from the likes of Roberts.
His exploits with England haven’t gone unnoticed. The youngster has been a part of England U-16, U-17 and U-19 teams. He was an integral part of the victorious England Under-17 team at the 2014 European Under-17 championship. During the tournament he notched up 3 goals and 4 assists and was named in the team of the tournament. Later in the same year, Roberts was a part of the England u-19 side in the European Championship and notched 4 goals and 4 assists in 3 games.
These numbers are indicative of the huge potential the lad possesses. In today’s age, there is a huge expectation on the shoulders of young kids of just 17 and 18 and that can cause serious damage to young talent. Roberts will make mistakes and he will experience a learning graph and it will be important for fans, critics and coaches alike to give the kid some breathing space to build on his strengths and nullify his weaknesses.
At just 17 Roberts is physically frail and understandably so. This has led to him being bullied by stronger and technically sound opponents in the past. In the Premier league, deficiencies in physical attributes can at times be a great disadvantage and he will need to work on it.
With his contract running out at the end of the next season, Fulham might be keen to cash in on their young talent if he has made his intentions to leave Craven Cottage clear. Wherever he plies his trade, the youngster will need to keep his head on his shoulders and work his way into stardom he has been tipped for. In closing , we would like to leave you with words of Huw Jennings, the director of Fulham academy.
“Pat has made excellent progress and we’re pleased with the performances he has been showing. He knows that he has to continue to work hard, but if he shows the same application, desire and determination there’s no reason why he can’t be very successful.
He’s the type of player that is exciting to watch, and he’s had a very good 12 months for both Fulham and England. We hope that he will be one of the standard-bearers for our Academy for many years to come.”