Sligo Rovers can announce striker Philip Roberts has signed with the Bit o’Red for 2016.
Roberts is a 21 year-old Ireland underage international who has most recently been with Scottish Premiership side Dundee.
His signing is made after a trial period where he trained with Dave Robertson’s side and played 78 minutes in the win against Derry City.
Roberts youth career was spent with Charlton Athletic firstly and then Norwich City.
From there he signed a scholarship deal with Arsenal in 2010. With the Gunners he was a regular in the under-18 team for two season scoring 13 goals in 38 games and was top scorer in his second season.
He also made appearances for the Reserve side which included a goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Scottish Premier League club Inverness Caledonian Thistle brought him on loan for the first half of the 2012-13 season. Roberts’ first goal for them came quickly in jus this second appearance against Dundee United and he was part of the team that made it all the way to the semi-finals of the Scottish FA Cup after having his loan extended to the end of the season.
For the next year he made a permanent move to another Scottish club Falkirk. A wonderful start to his time there saw him score a hat-trick on his home debut and score six by the end of the year.
Newly promoted Dundee brought the Londoner with them to the Scottish Premiership in 2014, he spent just over a year there before leaving by mutual consent last August.
Roberts has represented Ireland at under-17 and under-19 level due to his mother hailing from Co. Roscommon.
He scored four times in just seven appearances for the Irish sides.
Rovers’ new striker Phil Roberts is hoping to bring goals to his new club after signing today.
Roberts says he has enjoyed his week at The Showgrounds so far and is looking forward to playing with team now for the full season.
London-born Roberts has played in England and Scotland but also represented Ireland at underage level and has some knowledge of the league and some of the players here through that.
“I have played with some players that are in the league from my time with Ireland underage sides. I’ve played with Kieran Sadlier so it’s good to be back playing with him and I’ve also played with people like Mikey Drennan, Brandon Meile and Sean Maguire.”
Roberts joined up with the Bit o’Red last week and trained with the team while on trial and also started in the friendly win over Derry City.
He said he was happy with how he did in the game but would like to have added a goal: “I was really happy with how I performed in training and at the game at the weekend, though I would have liked to have scored a goal. But generally I was happy with how I done in helping the team and how I have blended in with the lads. The team plays good football which I like and hopefully it should suit me.”
The Derry game saw him play up front beside fellow striker Jaanai Gordon who has come from West Ham and Roberts is excited at the thoughts of linking up with him: “Jaanai is a strong, quick player who can score goals. He does a lot of work for the team and I have enjoyed playing with him so far. He bring a lot of quality and can cause team problems with his pace.”
He added that manager Dave Robertson is ambitious for the season ahead which he feels bodes well: “He has said that he would like to break into the top four this year and try to push for a European place. We want to play an attacking style of football that should be good to watch for the fans. We will just be going out there to try and win as many games as we can. There is a lot of ambition here at the club to do well which is great.”
Dave Robertson has strengthened his attacking threat by acquiring Phil Roberts from Dundee.
Having done plenty to catch the eye of his new manager in the defeat of Derry City at The Showgrounds Robertson has pounced to add him to his squad quickly.
Robertson spoke about what Roberts will bring to his squad: “Phil impressed me with his performance in the game against Derry City on Saturday and with how he did in training before that with us. Something he will definitely bring to us is pace and power. He can be a threat to teams in behind.
“One thing that has impressed me is that it hasn’t taken him long to get to grips with our way of playing. In the game against Derry he translated exactly what we had been doing in training. And with some more work he will be a very good signing for us.”
With Roberts haven’t spent the developmental part of his career with the likes of Norwich City and Arsenal the new manager feels he will have a good skillset to offer: “He’s also another player who has had a very good upbringing in the game with having spent a few years at Arsenal when he was young. When he left there at a young age he got to play senior football early under Terry Butcher at Inverness. He has got some good experience since then with Dundee most recently. And on top of that he has played underage international football with the Republic of Ireland so he has gained some good experience.
“Despite that he is just 21 years old and he really fits the profile of what we want to do here. He is at a good age in his career and I am really pleased to have him with us.”
For most of Saturday’s game Roberts played up from alongside fellow forward Jaanai Gordon and Robertson is looking forward to seeing more of them together: “I think they have what it takes to form a good partnership. In addition to that there is some others in the squad he will work well with. Kieran Sadlier he has played with before for Ireland so they know eachother and have an understanding of how the other likes to play. They are also friends off the pitch. Even though we have a new squad there is a lot of commonalities between them and some good understanding of how they want to play.”
Source: Sligo Rovers Press Release