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Robbie Fowler - goalscoring phenomenon

Robert Bernard Fowler is born and raised in Toxeth in Liverpool, an area where unemployment was the norm. Robbie was an Everton supporter in his childhood and loathed Ian Rush's achievements with Liverpool FC. Especially since Rushie was very prolific against Everton. Fowler was chosen to play for the u-14 team in his school and was spotted by Jim Aspinall, Liverpool scout. Everton also had its eye on him at the time and Fowler did play few games for them when he was 14 years old in their u-17 team. But Fowler had already settled in at Liverpool FC and turned Everton down. Fowler signed his professional contract on his 17th birthday.

"Kenny Dalglish was manager when I signed for Liverpool. When I was training there as a schoolboy, Kenny would sometimes drop me off at home. I couldn't wait to get into school the next morning to tell everyone what had happened! Steve Heighway, who is still in charge of Liverpool's youth set-up, was very good to me and helped me a lot at that time."

Fowler got his first taste of first-team football at the end of the 1992-1993 season when he was on the bench against Bolton in the FA cup and again in the final match when Liverpool beat Tottenham 6-2. His international breaktrough came that summer with England's u-18 team when they won the European title. Fowler started the tournament on the bench but ended up as the top scorer with 5 goals in 4 games.

Fowler played his first match for Liverpool against Fulham in a 3-1 victory in the Coca Cola cup on the 22nd of September. He scored of course and in the second match he scored all 5 goals when Liverpool won Fulham 5-0 two weeks later. Only the fifth player in LFC's history to achieve that feat. In his first league match he wore the number 11 shirt against Chelsea. Liverpool was currently in 13 place and had lost 3 league games in a row and Fowler's presence didn't stop them losing their 4th game at Stamford Bridge. He played in the 0-0 draw against Arsenal and scored his first league goal against Oldham in the following game, which ended 2-1 for Liverpool. Fowler scored his first hat-trick against Southampton in only his 5th league match. Fowler scored no less than 13 goals in his first 15 games for Liverpool and it was clear that Fowler wasn't any ordinary player. Fowler made his debut in the u-21 England team against San Marino in November and scored his first u-21 goal.

Fowler broke his ankle in the FA cup against Bristol City on the 19th of January and was absent until the beginning of March. He only scored 3 goals in his remaining 11 games that season, but nevertheless boasted a great record in his first season in the Premier League. Fowler ended the season with same amount of goals as Ian Rush the Liverpool legend, 18 in total, but Fowler had played fewer games.

A memorable hat-trick against Arsenal.Fowler started the 1994-95 season well and scored 5 goals in the first 3 games and had already achieved 50% of his target of 10 goals for the season. He scored an incredible hat-trick against Arsenal in only 4 minutes and 35 seconds which is still a Premier League record! Fowler was perplexed after the match: "I didn't really have a clue today's goals came so quickly. I thought they were 15 minutes apart."

Fowler got his reward with a new 4 year contract with Liverpool. A goal against Southampton followed in the next game but he didn't score in the next 4 games. Fowler recovered and scored 15 goals in the next 16 games and with half of the season gone he had scored 20 league goals.

Boss Roy Evans was estatic with his young genius: "Robbie has immense talent. He can be frightening. As long as he learns from players like Ian Rush, who knows how far he can go?" Robbie Fowler enjoyed playing along legend Ian Rush: "He's done it all before and knows the ins and outs of the game. He knows everything about defenders and has told me about the strengths and weaknesses of every one we've played against and that's made a big difference to me. In the games it's the same. He never stops talking, keeps on at me non-stop and that's helped me to develop this season. But I know I've been lucky. I'm learning from the best and if you don't learn from the likes of Ian then who can you learn from?"

Fowler was hoping for titles and he did win one. Fowler played an important role in beating Crystal Palace in the semi-finals of the Coca Cola cup. Liverpool won both games 1-0 and Fowler scored the winning goal on both occasions. Fowler was looking forward to playing on Wembley for the first time in his career: "I've never been nervous before a game but Sunday might be different. When I was there before the atmosphere was first class but I'm sure that when I walk out of that tunnel and hear the roar of the crowd the hairs on the back of my neck will stand up. But Ian's told me how he scored in his first game there when we beat Spurs to win the competition in 1982 and I'd really love to do the same, score and be on the winning side."

Liverpool won Bolton 2-1 in the Coca Cola cup final. Fowler's best friend Steve McManaman was outstanding on the day and scored both goals for Liverpool. Fowler got a nice birthday present when he was chosen the young player of the year in the Premier League. He was also the only player who played in all of Liverpool's games that season and was the team's top scorer. Fowler scored 25 league goals in 42 matches and all in all 31 goals.

NEXT PART: Fowler is God

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