Liverpool and Scotland footballer Andy Robertson has launched a charity to “fight for what’s right” in his homeland – but he said he is unlikely to follow in Marcus Rashford’s footsteps and lobby politicians.
AR26 is named after Robertson’s shirt number from stints at Dundee United, Hull City and now Liverpool.
It will give opportunities to children from poorer backgrounds by offering equal access to free football training, support and job opportunities.
His charitable efforts follow those of fellow English Premier League star Marcus Rashford, who met Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss his campaign to provide free school meals to children.
While Robertson is open to speaking with the Scottish Government about support, he said he is not expecting to sit down with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon anytime soon.
“Marcus has been an incredible inspiration for everyone,” Robertson told the PA news agency.
“Especially to footballers, of course, being involved in the same sport he’s been an inspiration and what he’s done is phenomenal.
“He’s got a very targeted market – he’s trying to feed every child in England, which is great because I believe that, never mind kids, nobody should go a day without a meal.
“And that’s why I’ve always donated to food banks.”
He added: “Over the years I’ve tried to make donations to charity but now it’s hopefully time to make a bigger difference – and be able to have my own and hopefully make a wider difference and make it nationwide and really help the under privileged kids in Scotland.”
Robertson, a Premier League and Champions League winner with Liverpool, said his work will focus on charitable activities.
He said he hopes the kind of political action spearheaded by Rashford will not be needed in Scotland
“But if it does and we believe that we need change then we will definitely try to push for change,” he said.
“If our charity can get support from the government, of course we are going to seek that and we are going to have a conversation about that but I’m not more important than any other charity.
“So I don’t expect me to sit down with Nicola Sturgeon.”
The defender, who earlier this month led Scotland’s men’s team to their first major tournament in more than two decades, said he is “extremely proud to be Scottish because of the values our country is built on”.
He added: “At our best, we are about solidarity, fighting for what’s right and looking after each other.
“AR26 has been set up based on those ideals – we want nothing more than to create a long-lasting positive impact on children and young people across Scotland.”
Robertson set up AR26 with his partner Rachel and it will begin with a Christmas campaign supporting 26 Scottish charities, including those helping children receive Christmas presents and warm winter clothes.
“Opportunity should be a basic human right for everyone,” Robertson said.
“To deny young people in Scotland equality of opportunity is to undermine our future.”
Amanda Nisanci, head of partnership at AR26, said: “I am delighted to be embarking on this exciting journey with AR26 charity.
“Andy’s passion to utilise his platform and the power of football to inspire tomorrow’s generation is truly contagious and he is the perfect role model to be at the helm of AR26.”
To donate to AR26, visit ar26.org.uk