Derby County have recently completed a deal to sign Patrick Roberts on loan from Premier League side Manchester City.
Roberts spent the first-half of this year’s campaign with Middlesbrough, but struggled for consistent game time with Neil Warnock’s side, as they mount a serious push for promotion into the Premier League this term.
But the winger has now signed for Wayne Rooney’s side, and he’ll be hoping he can make a positive impact with the Rams at the earliest of opportunities.
Derby are currently sat 20th in the Championship table, and are just two points clear of the relegation zone heading into the second-half of this year’s campaign.
Roberts made his debut for the Rams on Wednesday evening as a 72nd minute substitute, but he was unable to inspire Derby, as they were beaten 3-0 by relegation-threatened rivals Rotherham United at the New York Stadium.
We take a look at some potential obstacles that Roberts could be faced with at Derby County.
Forcing his way into Rooney’s starting XI
Rooney does have a number of options available to him in wide areas of the pitch, and Roberts will surely know that he faces a tough battle to force his way into the starting XI on a regular basis.
Kamil Jozwiak and Martyn Waghorn started in his position against Rotherham on Wednesday, but given their disappointing display as a team, Roberts could be given the opportunity to impress in the coming weeks, starting with their match against Barnsley at Oakwell on Saturday.
Playing for his future
Roberts is out-of-contract with Manchester City at the end of the 2020/21 season, and given that he’s been loaned out once again, his long-term future with the Premier League is surely in doubt.
The winger has only made three senior appearances for them, and isn’t likely to be anywhere near their matchday squad, with Pep Guardiola having stronger options available to him to choose from.
If Roberts can impress with Derby, then it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see the Rams potentially make their move for the winger on a permanent basis, so he’s got a point to prove whilst out on loan.
This could prove to be one of the main obstacles for Roberts with Derby County.
He evidently wasn’t deemed 100% match-fit, as he was only named as one of the club’s substitutes in their recent defeat to Rotherham United.
He made just four starts for Middlesbrough in his time with Neil Warnock’s side, and is unlikely to be ready to start many matches at this moment in time due to his lack of regular minutes in the Championship.
However, if he can build up his match-fitness and stay injury-free, then he could prove to be a smart signing by Wayne Rooney’s side.