Thomas Henry Alex "Hal" Robson-Kanu (born 21 May 1989) is a professional footballer who plays as a winger for West Bromwich Albion and the Wales national team. Although he initially played primarily on the wing, he has also been used as a forward, including Wales' run to the semi-finals of UEFA Euro 2016.
Robson-Kanu started his career as a schoolboy at Arsenal but was released at 15 and joined Reading. After graduating from the Academy in 2007 he spent time on loan at Southend United and Swindon Town before returning to Reading and making his first team debut in 2009. Limited to mainly substitute appearances during his first season, he became an important member of the squad appearing regularly during the 2011–12 Championship winning campaign. He made his Premier League debut in 2012 and has since gone on to make over 100 appearances for the club.
At international level Robson-Kanu initially represented the country of his birth, England, at under-19 and under-20 level. In 2010 he switched allegiance to Wales, the country of his grandmother, playing for the under-21 side before his debut for the senior team against Croatia on 23 May that year. He scored his first senior international goal against Scotland in March 2013 and his second against Cyprus in October 2014.
Born in Acton, London, Robson-Kanu began his career at Arsenal as a schoolboy aged 10. He was released by the club at 15 and joined Reading after speaking to then Academy manager Brendan Rodgers. After graduating from the Academy he signed his first professional contract in July 2007, penning a two-year deal with the club. The 2007 Peace Cup in South Korea saw Robson-Kanu involved with the Reading senior team for the first time with appearances against River Plate and Shimizu S-Pulse. Steve Coppell's policy of resting first-team players for cup matches saw Robson-Kanu selected on the bench for the first time on 5 January 2008 for the FA Cup third round tie against Tottenham Hotspur, though he remained an unused substitute.
Not in contention for a regular place in the Reading first team, Robson-Kanu's first experience of senior football came on 30 January 2008 when he joined Southend United on loan until the end of the season. He made his debut three days later as a second-half substitute in a 2–2 draw away at Leyton Orient and scored his first career goal against Nottingham Forest. He struck twice more in the next two games against Huddersfield Town and Swansea City and returned to Reading with three goals in eight appearances. Robson-Kanu was again involved in the first team during the 2008–09 pre-season, scoring a goal in a 9–0 win over Didcot Town in July. He re-joined Southend on a month's loan on 21 August 2008 and after one goal in six appearances extended his spell for a second month. He returned to Reading on 15 November after his three-month spell came to an end having made 15 appearances, scoring twice, during his second spell at the club.
After returning to Reading he was among the substitutes for the FA Cup third round tie against Cardiff City on 3 January 2009. He would again have to wait to make his debut though, remaining on the bench as Cardiff won the match. On 26 January 2009 he joined Swindon Town on a one month loan which, after six games, was extended for a further month. Midway through his spell at Swindon, having impressed on loan at the club as well with Southend previously, he signed a new contract with Reading until 2011. He cemented a regular place in the Swindon team and started in all 20 of his appearances for the club before returning to Reading after three months. At the conclusion of his spell Swindon boss Danny Wilson hailed Robson-Kanu and fellow loanee Gordon Greer for their "fantastic impression" which helped the club pull away from relegation.
Robson-Kanu initially represented England, the country of his birth, at international level, making his debut for the under-19 side against Germany in November 2007. He made a second appearance against Croatia the following year before winning one cap for the England under-20s against Montenegro in 2009.
In 2010 he switched allegiance to Wales who he qualifies for through his grandmother. He was first selected in the Wales under-21s squad for the friendly against Austria on 18 May 2010 and made his debut in a 1–0 defeat. Robson-Kanu's first cap for the senior team came just five days later, coming on as a second half substitute for Robert Earnshaw in a 2–0 loss to Croatia. He continued to play for the under-21's after his senior debut and made a further three appearances, scoring twice, with his last appearance coming in a defeat to Italy which ended Wales hopes of qualifying for the European Under-21 Football Championships. He scored his first senior international goal on 22 March 2013 in a 2–1 World Cup qualifying win over Scotland at Hampden Park.