Scouting Report: Get the lowdown on Barry Robson

Barry Robson

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Signing Barry Robson as a Designated Player is nothing short of a major coup by the Vancouver Whitecaps.

What will make the Scotsman such an asset?

Robson is a stalwart of the Scottish Premier League, making more than 170 appearances in the SPL. He is known across the UK for his supreme ability in dispatching free kicks and penalties with ease, while also timing his runs into the box from midfield to perfection.

The Whitecaps' third-ever DP, who will join the MLS side when his contract with Middlesbrough runs out in July, started his career with Inverness Caledonian Thistle in 1997 before switching to SPL side Dundee United in 2003 after a 13-goal season for Callie Thistle in 2002-03. In 145 matches with Dundee United, Robson scored 32 times, earning himself another move up the ladder to Scottish giants Celtic in January 2008.  

At Celtic, Robson continued to make a name for himself, scoring with his first touch on his debut against Aberdeen on a delightful free kick. He stayed in the headlines throughout his time in Glasgow, scoring against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League and scoring the winner from the penalty spot versus Old Firm rivals Rangers in April 2008.

In 2010, Robson made the switch to English football, scoring 18 goals in 76 appearances for Middlesbrough in England’s second tier. The fiery, terrier-like midfielder, who can play in a variety of attacking positions, will certainly look to add to his impressive goal tally while in British Columbia.

Robson’s box-to-box industrious style is coupled with his knack for scoring spectacular goals. This season alone the Scotsman has scored eight times in 26 appearances for ‘Boro, including two long-range efforts against Hull City and Sunderland. The latter (19 seconds into the video below) came in an FA Cup fourth round 1-1 draw against the Black Cats, as Robson belted in a superb volley to further underline his renowned goalscoring prowess.

The Whitecaps will certainly be hoping that ability translates well to MLS come July. Of course, the 33-year-old midfielder is no spring chicken, but he should add steely determination, intelligent runs and a wealth of experience to Vancouver’s midfield. Add to that his deadly ability from set pieces and the ‘Caps have acquired a player who is sure to give headaches to MLS defenses all season long.

One thing for Whitecaps fans to keep any eye on: Robson was sent off on his debut for both Dundee United and Middlesbrough.

They call that bite – misplaced or not – in the midfield.