HAL ROBSON-KANU is on a double mission in 2020 – Premier League promotion with West Brom and a late dash for a Wales spot at the Euros.
The Baggies striker has been an integral part of Slaven Bilic’s high-flying side, who are level with Leeds on points at the top of the Championship ahead of today’s clash at the Hawthorns.
But Robson-Kanu also hopes his impressive club form can convince Ryan Giggs to include him in his Dragons squad for this summer’s major finals.
The 30-year-old did not play in any of Wales’ qualifiers having retired from international football in August 2018 but the 44-cap forward is ready to end a 17-month self-inflicted exile.
Yet Robson-Kanu knows any chance of a repeat of his Welsh cult hero status from Euro 2016 depends on him doing the business for Bilic as West Brom – nine points clear of third-placed Fulham – bid to return to the top-flight after two seasons out.
Robson-Kanu, part of the WBA side who lost to Aston Villa in the play-off semi-finals last May, said: “I’ve massive ambitions, I want to be playing in the Premier League again and scoring goals.
“But it’s not just me, look at the likes of Charlie Austin, Gareth Barry, Matty Phillips, Jake Livermore, Kieran Gibbs, Kyle Bartley and Sam Johnstone.
“We’ve good Premier League and international experience and pedigree and we know what we want to achieve.
“Last season we thought we should have gone up. West Brom is a Premier League club so our aim is to get back there.
“The Championship is tough. You play top teams with big budgets and many of them have played in the Premier League in the last five years so it’s like a Prem B.
“We’re in a good place. You want to get on a decent run of results but you can’t get ahead of yourself in this league.”
West Brom’s festive results wiped away any prospect of complacency with draws against Brentford and lowly Barnsley followed up by Middlesbrough’s shock 2-0 win in the Midlands last Saturday.
But Robson-Kanu believes ex-Croatia and West Ham boss Bilic, appointed last June, is the right man to lead his team-mates back to the promised land.
He added: “We’re lucky to have Slaven. 100 per cent. He’s come in and implemented a mentality which we missed last season and that’s been the key.
“We’ve a grit and hard-to-beat mentality but we’re also playing some incredible football.
“Slaven’s got a great personality and he’s communicated well with the senior players about what his standards and expectations are. He’s getting the best out of the players.”
Bilic recently backed Robson-Kanu to achieve his second goal of the year by winning a Wales recall ahead of the Euros.
The forward scored one of the iconic Euro 2016 goals when his Cruyff-turn bamboozled three Belgium defenders before he slotted past Thibaut Courtois to send Chris Coleman’s side into the semi-finals with a 3-1 win.
But, just over two years later, Robson-Kanu opted to retire to spend more time with his family and on a new business venture.
He spoke to Giggs about a Wales return before they qualified for the Euros against Hungary in November.
Robson-Kanu, whose last Wales cap came in the defeat to Ireland in October 2017 which ended their World Cup hopes, said: “It was a hard decision. West Brom had just gone down to the Championship which is demanding and I needed to step away.
“I’m in a better position now, working hard, enjoying what I’m doing and ready to contribute if needed.
“I spoke to Ryan before I retired, we kept in touch and exchanged messages. He said, ‘The door is always open’.
“I’d be more than happy to return if Ryan needs or wants me. His squad which got to the Euros did phenomenally well. I was delighted for the boys.
“Ryan knows his squad but when you go into an international tournament you always want different tools to your armoury. I feel I can help the nation.
If everyone is fit then it’s a difficult decision for Ryan. Either way, I’ll definitely be available for the next qualifying campaign.”
MANY footballers play a round of golf or computer game Fifa until 2am in their time away from the pitch but not Hal Robson-Kanu.
The Wales and West Brom striker, 30, launched his own drinks company ‘The Turmeric Co.’ last year.
His passion in the flowering plant came as a response to surgeons who told him he would live a life in pain following two serious knee injuries as a teenager.
Back then, Reading’s physios advised Robson-Kanu to use anti-inflammatory drugs but it only masked the pain and the side effects included passing blood in his urine and nausea.
That forced Robson-Kanu to spend years researching for an alternative cure and Turmeric, with the root sourced from Nigeria, came to his rescue with 60ml shots which has eradicated pain, enhanced his health, boosted his immunity and helped with recovery between games.
His business has had lift-off with several Premier League teams, his West Brom team-mates and boss Slaven Bilic, England’s rugby side and Olympians among the athletes using the product which come in four varieties – natural, ginger, coconut and beetroot.
Robson-Kanu said: “After my injuries, the surgeon said I needed to look at a different career path so for this to come out of that is phenomenal.
“It was a lightbulb moment to see the impact nutrition can have on your life. I’ve never felt healthier. My data shows I’m stronger and fitter than ever and being healthy is key.
“Football is physical but the business stimulates me mentally. It’s good because I can switch off from football. I’m an influential member of the group because of my experience in football so I’ll always give everything to the team but if I’m alone or in a hotel room with my earphones I can work on my business.
“Other players will go to the golf course or play Fifa until two in the morning but I’m passionate about the business.
“It’s exciting and takes a lot of focus and commitment. I’m employing people, there’s jobs on the line and issues within business so playing football is actually cool and fun now.
“We’re in Whole Food markets, 100 Dunnes Stores in Ireland and in discussions with a number of high-street supermarkets to make turmeric accessible for everyone.”