Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson have had an incredible season for club and country as Fulham are pushing for European qualification and they were key in the USMNT’s last 16 run at the World Cup.
But there is still plenty more to come from the duo who have taken their game to new levels playing alongside one another and are flying the Fulhamerica flag proudly.
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Speaking exclusively to ProSoccerTalk ahead of Fulham’s clash with Wolves on Friday (watch live, 3pm ET on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com), the duo explained what is behind their incredible relationship and understanding on the pitch.
Ream, 35, and Robinson, 25, have struck up a telepathic understanding and newly-promoted Fulham are in sixth place in the Premier League table and in the FA Cup last 16 based largely on their defensive solidity which the USMNT duo are a key part of.
The Cottagers have kept eight shutouts in their 24 Premier League game so far, including five since the World Cup break, as only Manchester United have won more PL games than Fulham since the season resumed.
Click play on the video above to watch the interview in full and here are a few snippets from the chat with the USMNT and Fulham stars.
Tim Ream on what he appreciates about Robinson
“I appreciate that he makes up for my lack of pace in certain moments,” Ream laughed and Robinson chuckled. “Again, that is a complimentary thing. We both have things that the other maybe doesn’t have that much and I can fully admit I have weaknesses just like any other player. We do a good job of helping each other out. The talent that runs through this guys veins on so many different levels, whether it is piano, chess, cards, Rubik’s cube, I mean this guy does it all. I sit there and I think ‘goodness, where does he find the time!?’… He’s a supremely talented individual in a lot of different aspects and ways. I admire that a heck of a lot because I don’t have that type of talent and artistic-ness in my own blood.”
Robinson on what he appreciates about Ream
“He’s got good hair, I’ll leave it at that!” Robinson joked as Ream laughed loudly with the vibes always good between the USMNT duo. “The thing for me about Tim is that every footballer knows what it’s like to go through stages where you are under criticism and there are narratives about you setting you back. I’ve been through it myself with the national team especially where people are like ‘oh, don’t call him up he can’t defend.’ Things you don’t even look for but they end up finding their way to your attention.
“To go from the first Premier League season I had here where Tim didn’t feature as much and I didn’t really play with him to all the stuff with the World Cup, not playing many qualifiers after the first couple of windows, the Championship season, how incredible he played and that drive to, not prove people wrong but his own drive to be successful and make his loved ones proud it really resonates with me. I love people getting the fruits of their labor and being rewarded for that hard work and determination and overcoming what people say. Look at him now, people were saying this year he probably wouldn’t be playing for us and he’s probably our player of the year. So, that’s very inspiring for a lot of people but it just makes me happy to see him being successful.”
What is achievable for Fulham this season?
“Andreas [Pereira] said if we win every game we win the league, so there’s a chance of that,” Robinson smiled.
“That’s his little joke going around, right!?” Ream added.
“We said very clearly at the start of the season that we just want to stay in the league and I think if we did, you know, scrape by and just stayed up and we’ve done it, playing the way we want to play we would have taken it as a very successful season. But we’re at a stage now where there’s 14 games left, we’re sixth in the league and we can look forward and be optimistic. Being in the cup competitions is massive because you don’t play in tournaments thinking you’re not going to win. So we have every chance and I don’t think it’s greedy to say that I think we can keep this cup run going and take it all the way to Wembley and win it. But where we finish in the league is only going to come down to how we continue to perform, so it is being optimistic and positive and we can achieve anything we set our minds to.”
Ream on looking out for the USMNT players in the Premier League and England
“I wouldn’t say we get together too often but there is a lot of texting and WhatsApping between the guys. A lot more now there has been in the past,” Ream explained as so many USMNT players now call England home. “I was going to host a Thanksgiving dinner this past Thanksgiving but we were in Qatar so that changed the plans. It’s not so much needing to get together but just making sure to check in with everyone.
“I will message Sarge [Josh Sargent] every now and then just to check in and it’s just keeping those connections and making sure everyone is in a good place physically, mentally, where they are at with their clubs. Everybody has so much going on in their lives that it is hard to get everybody together and on the same page but when the holidays come around it is something that I try to touch on and make sure guys are not feeling homesick because it is a big change being over here without their families around the holidays.”
Antonee Robinson on hopes for USMNT going forward
“There’s a few things going on with the team as an organization which we don’t have anything to do with, so that is out of our hands,” Robinson said. “We have three or four tournaments, I think, leading up to the next World Cup, so obviously each cycle internationally is geared towards preparing yourself for the World Cup, in the meantime all of these tournaments we are going to it is the best feeling in the world winning a trophy.
“The first trophy I ever won professionally was Nations League with Tim and winning trophies, doesn’t matter which ones they are, and our next goal is to win as much as possible to try and be successful. Building into the  World Cup it is crazy what can happen in four years. There are lads who just played in this World Cup who were 19 and 20 years old, they are still going to be so young when that comes around. There are kids now who are 14, 15, 16 who no one’s even heard of who are going to be playing. It is all exciting and it’s all very promising looking forward to it. We will look to better our performance in the World Cup and what position and what round we get to but again, we go to every tournament with an eye that we can win it.”