Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has told RamsTV how he feels attacker Louie Sibley can perform better than he has showed during his brief appearances of late.
Sibley burst onto the scene last season, posting five goals and two assists in nine games.
It is now a year ago he lit up Pride Park on his full debut, scoring a magnificent 25-yarder against Blackburn Rovers in what was a superb afternoon for then boss Phillip Cocu.
Sibley followed that up with a superb hat-trick in a 3-2 win at Millwall.
But the youngster just hasn’t got going this season, and under new manager Wayne Rooney he has found first-team opportunities hard to come by with only two starts in 2021.
Speaking to RamsTV, Rooney explains Sibley’s situation and the need to improve.
“Sibs is very much part of the first-team squad. I think, like all the players, you need to play well when you get your chance in the first-team to show what you can do. Sibs has had a few chances over the last few weeks and we feel he can do a bit better than what he’s been doing. With the lack of game-time over the past few months it was important we get a chance for him to get 90 minutes [for the U23s] to keep him sharp,” Rooney explained.
Sibley has made just one start since the 1-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on New Year’s Day, and that came in the 4-0 loss at Cardiff City where Rooney made six changes.
The 19-year-old has largely suffered due to Derby’s pragmatism under Rooney.
With the threat of relegation to League One there, Rooney has largely matched up to the opposition with the idea of outworking their opponents and keeping clean sheets.
Sibley undoubtedly has more attacking potential than the likes of Jason Knight and Graeme Shinnie, but Rooney seemingly favours the latter’s’ discipline and steady approach.
Some Derby fans fear Sibley could be sold to boost funds this coming summer, with a recent report from Football League World claiming the attacker will likely move on.