Derby County left-back Scott Malone was left out of the starting eleven against Stoke City – a decision which raises questions over his future at the club.
Derby thrashed Stoke 4-0 in what was one of their best displays this season.
But the Rams had to do it without their number one left-back Max Lowe. The youngster was serving the first of a three-match ban after his red card at Luton Town.
Scott Malone was the natural choice to step in. The 2018 £2.7 million signing from Huddersfield Town was a regular last season under Frank Lampard.
Scott Malone misses out against Stoke City:
Manager Phillip Cocu instead opted for Craig Forsyth in his first game at left-back for well over a year. He produced a brilliant individual performance.
Forsyth suffered an ACL injury back in 2018. He only returned to action in November and went on to make a handful of appearances as a centre-back in place of Matt Clarke who was out injured. Forsyth often struggled.
His inclusion against Stoke, therefore, came as a big surprise. And, after performing so well, it may have pushed Malone down to third choice left-back at the club.
Malone has made 15 Championship starts this season. However, his last start came at Reading on December 21, and he was red-carded after just four minutes.
Since then Derby have lost just one in seven Championship games. Youngster Max Lowe has been excellent, and Forsyth proved to be a reliable back-up.
Derby don’t need three left-backs. And, with academy prospect Lee Buchanan also an option, Malone could be the one to make way this summer.