Premier League-bound: USMNT defender Antonee Robinson joins Fulham

Fulham, the London team with a history of fielding U.S. men’s national team players, has signed young defender Antonee Robinson from Wigan Athletic, the Premier League-bound club announced on Thursday.

The lightning-quick 23-year-old left back made 38 appearances for Wigan in the second-tier English Championship last season despite the discovery of a heart ailment in January that prevented him from completing a transfer to Italian Serie A titan AC Milan.

“Fulham play a really nice style of football and I can see myself fitting in perfectly,” Robinson told Fulham’s website. “It was an easy decision for me.”

Fulham returned to the Prem earlier this month after a one-year stint in the Championship, winning the promotion playoff over Brentford.

“It’s exciting news, a potential transfer to a Premier League team,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said Wednesday before the deal was made official. “Especially after the break, he came home and was in really good form ... it’s a good opportunity for Antonee to prove he’s capable of being the left back for the national team.”

Robinson, who has won eight U.S. caps since making his international debut in 2018, joins veteran USMNT defender Tim Ream with Fulham. The pair are among just a handful of Americans on Prem rosters this season; others include Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Zack Steffen (Manchester City), Indiana Vassilev (Aston Villa) and DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle).

“Both times we played him this year, our guys have come off the field saying, ‘What a player,’” Ream told reporters Wednesday via conference call from England. “Obviously a move to Milan falling through would have been huge, but things happen. Another American at the club, and someone who can attack out of that left full-back role, and that can only translate into his role with the national team and being that attacking left fullback for the U.S.”

Fulham counts USMNT greats Clint Dempsey and Brian McBride — the national team’s current general manager — among its most decorated alumni. Other Americans who have previously worn Fulham’s famous white shirt include former U.S. World Cup squad members Carlos Bocanegra, Marcus Hahnemann, Eddie Johnson and Eddie Lewis, as well as youngsters Luca de la Torre and Emerson Hyndman.

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