My dad was a Premier League free-kick king, now I’m making my own way in football

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THOMAS ROBERT must feel pressure every time Wasquehal are awarded a free-kick.

But that comes with the territory of being the son of one of the Premier League’s greatest set-piece kings, the Newcastle legend Laurent Robert.

Instagram / thomasrobert_99Thomas Robert is the son of former France international Laurent[/caption]

The SunHe spent the 2020-21 season with Airdrieonians[/caption]

PARobert spent five years at St James’ Park, scoring ten Premier League free-kicks[/caption]

The rising star, 23, joined the French fourth-tier side last year after previously earning his stripes in the Scottish League One with Airdrieonians in 2020-21.

While with the Scottish side, Robert Jr underwent trials with Celtic, Rangers, Burnley and Salford City.

But he ended up going to Belgium with Mouscron before returning to France where he turned out for the UNFP French footballers’ union team as he searched for his next club.

The pink-haired pacey winger then had a stint with Beziers before signing for Wasquehal in the Nations 2 Group D in October 2023 where he is under contract until the end of the season.

Thomas – who also personalises and sells luxury cars aside from football – started out at Montpellier, though, just like his famous father.

In fact, the youngster is the third generation footballer after his grandfather, Laurent’s dad, played local in Saint-Benoit, Reunion where he forged a reputation as a superb free-kick taker.

Laurent – whose brother Bertrand is also a pro – told Foot Davant in 2018: “Football is a family affair. My father played football in Saint-Benoit, my hometown which is located in the east of the island. 

“He was one of the greatest attackers in Reunion. I followed in his footsteps even though I also practised other sports such as handball, tennis, judo, table tennis and athletics.

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“It’s innate. My father had the same ball striking on both feet. When I was playing as a beginner, I was already hitting from midfield. I scored without any problem.”

Laurent Robert spent five years at Montpellier – scoring his first professional goal in trademark fashion with a free-kick.

In 1999, he joined Paris Saint-Germain and also made the first of his nine France international caps. 

But despite impressing – especially from dead-ball situations – and leading the Ligue 1 scoring charts midway through the 2000-01 season, a change of manager stalled his form and the club’s title charge.

And that summer he made his £10million switch to Newcastle, making an immediate impact under Bobby Robson.

Across his five years at St James’ Park, he managed a staggering ten direct free-kicks in 129 games and added another when shipped out on loan to Portsmouth under a cloud in 2005-06.

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His tally of 11 places him sixth in the all-time Premier League list for free-kick goalscorers behind David Beckham, James Ward-Prowse, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gianfranco Zola – and top of the minutes-per-free-kick ratio of anyone with at least eight strikes.

Top Premier League free-kick goalscorers

1. David Beckham – 18

2. James Ward-Prowse – 17

3=. Thierry Henry – 12

3=. Cristiano Ronaldo – 12

3=. Gianfranco Zola – 12

6=. Laurent Robert – 11

6=. Seb Larsson – 11

8=. Ian Harte – 10

8=. Morten Gamst Pedersen – 10

And some of his net-busters were so iconic they were used in the legendary Goal football films. 

Robert, now 48, made his loan to Pompey permanent in 2005 but just six months later he left for Benfica.

Again, he lasted only half a season and went to Levante before officially retiring in 2010 after spells with Derby, Toronto and Larissa in Greece. 

His solitary piece of silverware was the 2001 Confederations Cup alongside Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires and Nicolas Anelka.

Robert spent five years working as a coach with Montpellier’s women’s team and academy but left the post in 2020.

These days, he seems to be enjoying retirement by supporting his family, playing golf, eating good food and drinking even better wine.

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PA:Press AssociationRobert earned legendary status at St James’ Park[/caption]

ReutersHe forged a reputation for his stunning free-kicks[/caption]

Instagram / laurentrobertofficielA young Thomas hangs out with his footballer father[/caption]

Instagram / laurentrobertofficielThe Premier League cult hero is enjoying his retirement life[/caption]

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