Speaking to TalkSPORT, Ashton said he ‘feels sorry’ for the Liverpool player whenever he sees him playing.
“I look at Bobby Firmino for an example, and I just feel sorry for him, whenever I watch him I feel sorry for him,” said the former Premier League striker.
“I know he enjoys bringing players into the game, but in terms of that weight that you have on you as a forward to score goals, at times I think that does weigh quite heavy on him. Even though when you watch him, he’s incredible out of possession, the link-up play is gorgeous, but I always watch him and I think, ‘Nah’, I wouldn’t be fussed about playing in that way.”
It’s an interesting take from Ashton, who was a centre-forward himself. But in truth, we’ve never seen a player who plays with as much joy as Firmino, so we’re not sure he’s too bothered, Dean!
Still misunderstood, still as good as ever
Ashton’s comments go to show just how misunderstood Bobby still is to those who haven’t watched him regularly. Heading into his eighth year in England since arriving for £29m, some still bafflingly expect to see a prolific striker.
If you’re expecting him to be a 20-goal a season goal poacher, then you’re going to be disappointed. Firmino isn’t a centre-forward in the traditional sense, and that’s what makes him, and Liverpool, so good.
When the Brazilian first arrived at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers was unsure where to use him. He mostly spent time on the wing, but understandably looked out of place.
It wasn’t until Jurgen Klopp brought in first Sadio Mane and then Mohamed Salah that we really started to see the best from him.
Appreciate him while you still can, Reds
Bobby’s game has never been about goals. Why score when you can lay a no-look assist on for one of your more prolific teammates?
Jurgen Klopp once said that books will be written about the role that Firmino has played in this Liverpool side. From a tactical perspective, he has been absolutely key to everything Liverpool have done under the manager. The fans, and his teammates, know and appreciate that.
Because he wears a nine on his back, there will be those, like Ashton, who may misinterpret his role. But make no mistake, Bobby is a special, special player who has never needed goals to demonstrate his value.
As the 30-year-old heads into what could be his last season at Anfield, it’s important to appreciate his brilliance while we still can.
Keep doing you, Bobby!