‘If I play against them, they’d want me to win’ - No divided loyalties for Roberts
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City loan signing Patrick Roberts has more reasons than most to want a start at Liverpool on Friday night.
The on-loan wideman will be under the watchful gaze of a special group of supporters - his family. And if that's not enough scrutiny under the Premier League spotlight, in opposite colours could be his old pal Joe Gomez.
Roberts - on a season-long loan from Manchester City - is a lifelong Liverpool fan, as are his family. His parents are from Liverpool, his brother is a big Reds fan and other relatives are season ticket holders.
They've already seen Roberts score a screamer in a pre-season win over Luton.
"I'll have cousins at the game who are season-ticket holders," he said. "When I scored against Luton, they said that hopefully I've got it out my system before I come to Anfield. They're excited to see me in the Prem.
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"I've been to watch games at Anfield, obviously, but I've never played there, so that'll be an experience I'm looking forward to. I was on holiday for the Champions League final but my brother and my dad were in the stands.
"My brother and dad follow them but if I play against them, they'd want me to win."
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Roberts played alongside Gomez for England's youth teams, but in 2015 opted to leave Fulham for Manchester City, where he rubbed shoulders with some of the game's biggest names, including Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph.
"Raheem used to drive me to training," Roberts told The Sun. "We had some good chats. I used to sit with him and Fabian Delph. They took me under their wing and talked to me all the time. They showed me what it's like to be a professional and to keep working hard every day.
"We still stay in touch, especially Delphy.
"He's helped me a lot. The first day I signed, we were on a plane to Australia together and we've just been good friends since. He keeps pushing me and every move I've made, he's made sure it was right for me. Raheem was a good role model and someone to look up to."
Roberts has played had loans spells in Scotland and Spain, but the Premier League has always been his target - and a baptism of fire suits him - and his family - perfectly.