Derby County will plan to get Jordon Ibe as “sharp as he can be” before considering including him in the first-team.
Ibe joined Derby from AFC Bournemouth in the summer, returning to Pride Park for a second time after having time on loan with the Rams in 2014/15.
The winger has been unable to make an impact since returning to the club, though, having gone without playing for a lengthy period of time before his move to Derby.
Ibe has made only one appearance for the Rams thus far, which was a late substitute cameo against Stoke City in December.
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The 25-year-old has also opened up on his mental health issues off the pitch, but will be hopeful of returning to first-team action sooner rather than later.
Wayne Rooney, via Derbyshire Live, has said that the plan is for Ibe to get to full match sharpness, which will be helped by getting game time with the Under-23s’.
He said: “He will have to step up his training again. It is important we get him game time (in the under-23s) and get him as sharp as he can be before he comes in with the first team.”
The Under-23s’ next fixture comes against Arsenal on April the 12th, and Ibe will be hoping to play some part in that game.
It has been a hugely frustrating campaign for Ibe and he will want to get out on the grass as soon as possible in a Derby shirt.
The winger is a quality player on his day, and after a tough end to life at Bournemouth, he will be keen to show his true quality.
Derby have been lacking that attacking, creative spark for large parts of this season, and a player who has that sot of guile and pace could be so key for the Rams going forward.