Interim Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has admitted that winger Jordon Ibe was left out of his side’s squad for their 4-0 win at Birmingham City on Tuesday night, for disciplinary reasons.
Ibe was absent from the matchday squad as goals from Krystian Bielik, Graeme Shinnie, Colin Kazim-Richards and Louie Sibley secured the Rams an emphatic three points at St Andrew’s, to climb out of the Championship relegation zone.
Now it seems as though the reason behind Ibe’s absence from the squad for that win, had nothing to do with either fitness or tactics.
Speaking after the game about why Ibe was not involved at Birmingham, Rooney was quoted by Derbyshire Live as simply saying: “There is an internal disciplinary investigation going on with Jordon, so I cannot speak any more on that until the investigation is over, sorry.”
Ibe only signed with Derby on two-year deal back in September, following his departure from Bournemouth earlier in the summer.
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Since then, a lack of match fitness has restricted the winger to just a single appearance for the Rams, coming off the bench late on in the goalless draw with Stoke City earlier this month.
While it is hard to make a full judgement without knowing what has gone on, this does not look like a good sign for Derby.
Given he has only been at the club for a few months, the fact that an issue such as this has arisen for Ibe will be a cause for concern for those associated with the Rams.
Indeed, considering the ability he undoubtedly has when fit, the fact he cannot be called upon for non-fitness related reasons will surely be frustrating for Rooney and co.
It will also be interesting to see how Rooney deals with this over the next few days and weeks, since it may be a challenge for the rookie to address an issue with one player, while looking to avoid tension amongst the squad as a whole.