Jamie Robson loves a challenge and it’s just as well, because, in his time as a member of the Dundee United squad, he’s faced plenty.
Never mind helping the Tangerines in their battle to escape the Championship over the past three years, the 21-year-old has faced a constant fight to claim his place in the team.
Three seasons ago he was in a tussle with the experienced Paul Dixon for the left-back spot.
The following year it was another man with plenty games under his belt, Tam Scobbie, who, at times, was vying for that role on the left of the defence.
Then, a year ago, Callum Booth was brought in to provide another option there.
And, this time round, the competition is coming in the form of Argentine acquisition Adrian Sporle.
Rather than adopt an attitude of “here we go again”, however, Robson has welcomed the new boys with open arms and views the extra option Sporle gives manager Robbie Neilson as a good thing for the squad.
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“I think I’ve had a challenge every year I’ve been here,” said the 21-year-old.
“That’s just football, There will be people who are going to come into the club in your position, you accept that and the competition is good.
“This year it’s Adrian and it’s down to the two of us to work hard in training and prove to the gaffer which one of us should start.”
So far, Sporle has started three of the four Betfred Cup Group games and Robson two, one at left-back and one in midfield just in front of his rival.
With the Argentine still adjusting to Scottish football, however, there looks a strong chance that, when league business kicks off against Inverness Caley Thistle tomorrow week, Robson will get the nod.
He’s happy to leave that call to boss Robbie Neilson and stick to making sure he’s ready whenever he’s called on.
“If you are not in the starting eleven, you need to be focused and prepare for anything, whatever situation is thrown at you.
“And, if you are on the bench, you have to come on and try to make as much of an impact as you can.
“You are going on the pitch for a reason, whether it’s to tighten things up at the back or to go on and try to create chances.”
Robson will be on duty down in England as United complete their preparations for the ICT clash with a friendly against Shrewsbury Town today.
It was supposed to be an exercise in giving players who need it game time but, after Tuesday’s shock Betfred defeat at the hands of East Fife, Robson concedes it’s become more significant.
He said: “It’s the last pre-season game so we want a performance and, really, every single player knows the other night against East Fife wasn’t good enough.
“When we go down there we need to go right at them and get momentum for going into the league.
“We need to get over East Fife right away. It’s better it happened now than in the league but it’s a wake-up call.
“We must bounce back and be ready to kick off the league campaign with a win.”