Roberts 'couldn't believe' Middlesbrough's interest in signing him was genuine

Liam RobertsLiam Roberts
Liam Roberts
‘I couldn’t believe it when I got the phone call.’

Liam Roberts had admitted he struggled to believe that Middlesbrough’s interest in signing him was genuine ahead of his move to the north east last month.

The 27-year-old goalkeeper turned down a new contract offer at Sixfields and instead penned a two-year deal with the Championship club, who are expected to be challenging for promotion to the Premier League this season.

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“I was on holiday when I learned of Boro’s interest and I just wanted to get home,” said Roberts. “I couldn’t believe it when I got the phone call.

"Before going out on holiday I hadn’t really heard anything, to be honest. Obviously you see rumours and stuff, but I’d not really heard anything about myself on the grapevine.

"As soon as I got off that phone call though we were literally straight on looking for flights to get home early! I think I still had two or three days left and I’m thinking I need to get back early. It’s just incredible to be here and I can’t wait to get going now."

Roberts has his work cut out if he is to establish himself as Chris Wilder’s first choice at the Riverside after Boro recently completed the loan signing of Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen.

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“It’s an absolute pleasure to be here,” Roberts added. “It’s a massive club with a massive reputation and I’m so happy to be on board.

"The facilities here are absolutely out of this world. It’s just an incredible opportunity. For me, this is about proving myself and establishing myself at this level.

"Obviously last year I did that in a lower league, now this is a big jump personally and I’m here to prove that I want to play as many games as I can. I am ready to fight for that position.”

Reflecting on last season at Sixfields, and particularly how the campaign ended, Roberts continued: “I had a really good season last year and the end goal was to get promoted with Northampton which unfortunately we didn’t manage to do.

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"Thankfully, my reputation preceded itself and I’m really lucky that I’m here now. You’re not thinking about that at the time though. I just tried to do well for the team and you think if anything comes of that from a personal point of view then it’s a bonus.

"It was a crazy season. That final day was literally football in a nutshell. I remember sitting in the changing rooms after and just thinking, ‘how has that happened!?’. At half time we were 3-1 up and they were like 2-0 up.

"You’re concentrating on the game but in the corner of your eye you can sort of sense from the fans that something is happening. So it’s 4-0, 5-0, 6-0 and then the seventh goal goes in and all the Barrow fans start celebrating and you just know what’s happening then. It’s one of them, what can you do? I don’t think we could have done much else.

"I remember sitting at the awards evening and they were reeling off these awards and it was just incredible. It was a privilege to win those awards. But that was in the past and now I’m looking to the future and the opportunity I’ve got here.”