Antonee Robinson joined Everton’s Academy at the age of 11. A skilful defender, he became a first-year scholar in the summer of 2013,
but found himself on the sidelines through injury for the Under-18s’
title run-in. He bounced back the following campaign to make a handful
of appearances for David Unsworth's Under-21s side and signed his first
pro deal in July 2015.
In May that year he picked up the Under-18s
Players' Player of the Season honour at the annual Academy Awards.
"I've never won a Players' Player award before," he told evertontv.
"I think I've had a good season so it's nice to know it's been
appreciated. I was quite unlucky to miss pre-season in Austria being
ill, before missing the tournament in South Africa because I fractured
my knee and I didn't really get back until November.
"Luckily I managed to get back in the team, played well at the Dallas
Cup and then David Unsworth brought me into the Under-21s towards the
end of the season. Overall, it's been a good year after a frustrating
start so it's great to have my efforts recognised."
And in July, he traveled with the first team to Singapore as part of
the squad for the Barclays Asia Trophy but didn't get to play in either
of the games. He turned out in a few of the Under-21 pre-season games
and started the first game of the season for them, was a sub in the
second, before his knee flared up again and it would keep him sidelined
for 10 months and the entire 2015-16 season. However, the Academy staff
expressed enough faith in Antonee's potential to give him another year
when his contract expired in 2016.
Robinson was an important member of the Under-18s team that won the Dallas Cup
in 2016 and helped the Under-23s to the Premier League 2 title in May
2017. The young left back, for whom many at the club had high hopes as a long-term successor to Leighton Baines, put pen to paper on his latest professional deal
in July 2017 and expressed his desire to make his full Blues debut in
the upcoming season.
“I'm buzzing," he told evertontv. "I've been at Everton for eight years now and just delighted to keep that going. This is the longest professional contract I've signed. I'm looking to kick on and keep improving as a player, knowing that my future is here.
“I feel like I need first-team football this coming season, whether I impress during pre-season and stay here or end up going on out on loan somewhere. I feel like I did quite well last season, played most of the games and that is the next step for me now.
The Milton Keynes-born defender, nicknamed "Jedi", represented the United States at youth level before going to become a fully-fledged international as his country sought to rebuild following theirt failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
After that very good season with the Under-23s, Robinson was one of nearly a dozen Everton youngsters
who went out on extended loan in 2017-18 when he joined Bolton Wanderers in the
Championship for the full season. It turned into a protracted
battle against relegation near the foot of the table, but
Robinson gained a lot from the ultimately successful campaign, as the
Trotters stayed up on the final day of the season. Robinson's
record of 34 appearances and 4 assists was a good testament to his
He showed some competence at left-back in the pre-season games
under Marco Silva in July 2018 but it was not enough to deter the
new management team from signing Lucas Digne from Barcelona, pushing Antonee down
the pecking order and forcing another season-long loan to the
Championship, this time with Wigan Athletic.
Everton were insistent, however, that Robinson agree to a new three-year
contract with the club that committed him through June 2021 and despite picking up an anke injury, he would go on to play 26 games in the Championship .
He traveled with the senior Toffees side to Kenya for the preseason
friendly against Kariobangi Sharks in July 2019 and featured in the second half of
that game but within days he would secure a permanent move to Wigan for
a fee rumoured to be less than £2m.
With a total of 7 caps for the USA as a full international, including
some high-profile games against France, Brazil and Colombia, it may have
been expected that he would be retained as backup for Digne at
left-back but the one-year contract extension given to Baines indicated
that Silva and Director of Football, Marcel Brands, were willing to consider selling him without a
single appearance at senior level.
Less than 6 months later, Robinson was rumoured to be on
the verge of a £10m move to AC Milan, in what would have been a major
step up in his football career. However, a medical threw up a
heart problem, a form of arrhythmia that stopped the deal going ahead.
The medical advice was to undergo a cardiac ablation procedure that would address
the irregularity in his heart rhythm and the defender had the operation in March and was back in training in June
2020, none the worse for wear and very grateful that the problem had been
With Wigan finding themselves on the wrong end of a controversial points deduction that doomed them to relegation to League One at the end of the 2019-20 season, Robinson was handed a path back to the Premier League when Sheffield United, Fulham and Everton themselves entered the frame to snap him up.
The Blades originally offered £3 million, but dropped the bid when they
found out he had a relegation release clause.
Indeed Everton had a privileged position, having negotiated in
his original transfer agreement for a 48-hour window to match any bid
for him and speak to the player. Director of Football Marcel Brands told
Robinson he wanted him back - a year after selling him to the Latics -
but the player was adamant he was not going back and had chosen Fulham
instead, with the Cottagers winning the race for his signature at a bargain
knock-down fee of £2m in August 2020, in light of Wigan's need to sell
He finally got to play Premier League football for Fulham, but could
not prevent them from dropping back down to The Championship after only
one season in the top flight.
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* Everton deducted 10 points for PSR breachView full table