Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock appears to have suggested that Patrick Roberts could be handed a greater opportunity to impress when his side host Millwall at The Riverside Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Opportunities have been lacking for Roberts since he returned to the club for a second loan spell from Manchester City during the summer transfer window, with the winger starting just three Championship games this season.
However, Warnock now appears to have suggested that Roberts could be line for another start this weekend, after suggesting that something has clicked for the 23-year-old behind the scenes this week.
Speaking about Roberts ahead of that game with Millwall, Warnock was quoted by The Teesside Gazette as saying: “In fairness to Patrick, he’s trained very well this week and I’ve been pleased with him.
“That’s the first time for a while he’s caught my eye in that respect. Hopefully the penny has dropped now that he’s got to work hard to get into the team and then stay in the team.”
Following their 3-0 defeat at Preston on Wednesday night – their third loss in four games – ‘Boro go into Saturday’s clash 11th in the Championship table, six points off the play-off places.
It would be good to see Roberts handed more of an opportunity at Middlesbrough going forward.
His last spell at the Riverside showed just how good he is capable of being, and you feel that is something ‘Boro have to take advantage of if possible.
Indeed, you have to feel as though seeing Roberts rewarded for his behind the scenes with a start will be a source of motivation for others in the side to do similar, which could help provide the lift ‘Boro need right now.
It is also hard to imagine Manchester City being entirely happy if Roberts is not getting game time at The Riverside, meaning it does seem as though there are a number of reasons it make sense to give him an opportunity sooner rather than later.