Some Derby County supporters have taken to Twitter to praise the performance of Max Bird who had an excellent game in the 1-0 win over Bristol City.
Bird was making his first start for Derby since mid-December.
The talented midfielder started the game in a more advanced role, pushing ahead of Krystian Bielik and Graeme Shinnie while playing closer to centre-forward Colin Kazim-Richards.
The switch immediately saw Derby dominate the early stages, with Kazim-Richards giving the Rams the lead inside five minutes while Bird later rattled the post with a stinging shot.
Bielik’s injury later saw Bird drop back into a deeper role, but he maintained his impressive performance level and prompted some Derby fans to single him out after the game.
The bird is the word! Max Bird was exceptional higher up the pitch. Especially up to the Bielik injury, Bird played higher up the pitch from CDM to the number 8 and at times the number 10 and he was top notch.For me his best game in a derby shirt. pic.twitter.com/ORPrJ6IB96
— ben (@Officialben__) January 30, 2021
Happily eat humble pie and say Max Bird was fantastic today👏🏻 need the consistency now 🐏
— Jordan Cook (@JordanCook8) January 30, 2021
I think that’s a crucial part of Max Bird’s development now. There’s an opportunity there for him, depending who Wayne is bringing in. Encouraging that Rooney has said Bird has adapted to how they want him to play. Hopefully he can put a good run together now
— Ian Holmes 💙 (@ianholmes20) January 30, 2021
Max Bird stepped up today. Hoping not the case but think we might need him to be at the top of his game for the rest of the season 😔 #dcfc
— Louise Hillyer (@LouLouRam) January 30, 2021
Max Bird MOTM today for me, unlucky to not score, covered the pitch and his passing was quality around the whole pitch! 👏 #dcfc
— Nav Sidhu (@NavrinSidhu) January 30, 2021
Max Bird has come back in and has had one hell of a game. I wasn’t too pleased to see him in the starting 11 today, as I think he’s had a poor season so far.
— Big Joey (@Joe43534774) January 30, 2021
Max Bird by the way… looks like the break out of the team did him good
— Dan Attwal (@DanAttwal) January 30, 2021
Max Bird playing like he knows he’s going to have a long run of games, excellent #dcfc
— Derbyrams (@Pat00758889Pat) January 30, 2021
Bird initially became a first-team regular last season alongside Wayne Rooney.
The 20-year-old’s ability to pass the ball is without question. However, he often came in for criticism for playing too safe with plenty of sideways and backwards passing.
Against Bristol City in an advanced, however, he put in a far more energetic display and when receiving the ball his initial thought was to drive forward rather than retain the ball.
It’s a new side of Bird many Derby fans haven’t yet witnessed and reaffirmed the belief that the Rams academy product has the tools to become a top Championship player.
Bielik’s injury, however, will likely see Bird drop back into a deeper role in the Pole’s absence.
The victory over Bristol lifts Derby momentarily up to 18th position in the league table, with Wayne Rooney’s side now keeping eight clean sheets in their last 11 games.