Derby County boss Wayne Rooney has revealed that Jordon Ibe is starting to give him a selection dilemma as the winger returns to full fitness.
Ibe signed for Derby back in the summer under Phillip Cocu, but he arrived back at Pride Park lacking fitness and has seen the start of his 2020/21 campaign seriously impacted by injury.
So far, the 25-year-old has made just one appearance from the bench for Derby this season, with a brief cameo in the goalless draw with Stoke City.
Quiz: Did these 25 players make more or less than 100 Derby County appearances?
However, some valuable minutes with the under-23s is giving Ibe the chance to build up fitness and impress with his performances.
Ibe is getting goals and assists for the Rams’ youth side this season and Rooney has admitted that as his winger gets back to full fitness, he is handing his a dilemma in terms of selection.
Speaking to the club’s media, he revealed: “He’s getting back to full fitness, and I think he knows that only games will do that for him. He’s looking better every day that goes by, so I’ll have a decision to make ahead of the next squad.”
Derby are unbeaten in the Championship since Rooney’s focus switched solely onto management after a turbulent start to life as player-manager.
It’s meant that the Rams are now level on points with Rotherham United and have the chance of moving out of the Championship’s relegation zone this Boxing Day with a win.
Ibe is such a good player. If you get him firing in the Championship, he will be a real weapon to have for the Rams.
They’ve seen before just what he can do, but injuries and lack of faith from others has seen his career slide.
His motivation to get himself back up to speed at Derby has to be admired and Rooney is clearly delighted with what he’s seeing from the 25-year-old.
He’s looking set for a big 2021.
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