Wales vs Portugal Euro 2016 preview: Hal Robson-Kanu comfortable with sudden popularity

6 Jul

No-one who wonders whether Hal Robson-Kanu is capable of repeating the ‘Cruyff-turn’ which brought him his goal against Belgium should fear that he lacks any self-belief.


The 27-year-old may currently be without a club, having scored 24 goals at Reading in nine years and decided to call it a day with them, but it is a measure of his confidence that he nonchalantly brushed off the question of winning the Euro 2016 Golden Boot prize on Tuesday “I didn’t look what the odds were at the start of the tournament for that,” he said. And on the subject of where he might play next he declared: “I am aware there is interest across Europe and globally as well.”

In his first in-depth discussion of the goal against the Belgians, Robson-Kanu did not dismiss the idea that this was par for the course in his game. “I have scored a few good goals personally but the significance of that goal and the manner was obviously special for myself and for the nation,” he said.

Wales manager Chris Coleman observed that Robson-Kanu had taken a risk in running down his Reading contract to look for work elsewhere – especially since an Achilles injury at the start of the tournament threatened to deprive him of the international stage. 

“As players you know your own bodies and I had a good feeling about it at the time,” Robson-Kanu said.

“Everyone around me was panicking a little. No-one wanted me to miss the Championship. I was confident I just needed it to be right. You are playing off instinct a lot of the time when you are on the pitch. You don’t really have time to think about things.

“You don’t really get much space against teams like Belgium but [with] the Cruyff it opened up a lot of space for me. It was just about staying composed and calm then and putting it in the back of the net. Which I did.”

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