Derby County midfielder Max Bird looked likely to leave the club this summer amid Championship interest from Hull City and Bristol City, but the youngster now looks set to remain part of Paul Warne’s squad.
Bird damaged his ankle ligament in the Rams’ 2-1 defeat at home to Oxford United, an injury which will see him face at least ten weeks on the sidelines. According to Darren Witcoop, this will cause both the Tigers and the Robins to drop their interest in the 22-year-old.
It is somewhat of a blow for the player himself, as he is clearly capable of playing at a higher level, but weirdly for the Rams this could be viewed as a boost – not something usually associated with a key member of the side facing time out.
Labelled ‘great’ by former manager Frank Lampard, his absence will be felt, of course, as he has been a pivotal member of the Derby set-up for some time now. However, retaining a player of his quality, whatever the reason behind it, can be spun positively.
Not only might it give the Rams a chance to convince Bird into extending his deal at Pride Park, as his current contract expires next summer, but should Warne’s men improve their form and establish themselves as a promotion contender it may persuade the academy graduate to stay put past January and potentially help Derby in their battle to return to the Championship.
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Having made his debut as a 16-year-old back in 2017, he has established himself as a household name amongst Rams fans whilst amassing 165 appearances in the famous black and white.
What does the future hold for Bird?
It was revealed earlier this month that Hull, led by former Rams interim manager Liam Rosenior, had bid for Bird, though their offer was quickly batted away as it was far below Derby’s valuation of the midfielder.
Rosenior was also spotted watching the Oxford match from the stands, but seemingly the injury sustained by his target was enough to end his interest for now.
It is a big loss for the Rams to be without Bird for the time being, however, the silver lining of keeping hold of their star is bound to ease the blow.