Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock has backed winger Patrick Roberts to succeed during his loan spell at Derby County.
Roberts spent the first half of this season – as well as the second half of the previous campaign – on loan at ‘Boro under Warnock.
But after starting just four league games for Warnock’s side this season, Roberts’ spell there was cut short by parent club Manchester City, with the winger subsequently joining ‘Boro’s Championship rivals Derby for the remainder of the campaign, a move Warnock believes will suit Roberts.
Speaking about the winger in the wake of his cross Championship switch, Warnock was quoted by The Hartlepool Mail as saying: “I said to Patrick he’ll do well at Derby because they play a different game. They’ll get it into his feet and he can run at people.
“With us, as I said to him, I signed him in good faith, I thought when I signed him he could have a big part to play.
“But he couldn’t play wide in our system because he couldn’t track full-backs and when I played him in the hole, if we played against a good three in there which most teams seem to have, we were outnumbered.
“It just didn’t seem to work out for him whereas I think he’ll do well at Derby, the way they play he’ll have more opportunities.”
In total, Roberts made 21 appearances in all competitions for ‘Boro during his time at The Riverside Stadium, scoring once.
The 23-year-old has already made his debut for Derby, coming off the bench as a second half substitute in the Rams’ 3-0 defeat away at Rotherham United on Wednesday night, a result that leaves Derby 20th in the Championship table, two points clear of the relegation zone.
You do feel as though Warnock may well have a point here.
Things certainly didn’t work out for Roberts during his time with ‘Boro this season, so a change of surrounding could certainly benefit him in terms of his performance.
Indeed, with regular opportunities not forthcoming at the Riverside Stadium, it also made sense for Roberts to move elsewhere for the second half of the campaign in order to get the game time he will surely need and want.
It will now be interesting to see if Roberts can be more successful during his time at Pride Park, and you feel that as 23-years-old, he needs to do so if he is to start making some progress in his career.