Former Celtic star Patrick Roberts is set for crunch talks with Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock.
Roberts has struggled to find consistent game time on loan with Boro, and Warnock is set to sit down with the winger. Out on loan from Manchester City for another season, the Englishman is 23 and need more minutes.
Warnock spoke sympathetically of Roberts’ situation, but is adamant that he has to make the best decisions for the club.
The Boro boss said (Northern Echo):
“I’ve got to have a talk (with Roberts),”
“There’s two or three lads that have not really had an opportunity, and everybody wants to play. They all want to be involved, and I have to manage that as I see fit.
“I’ve got to speak to the players and see how they feel, but first and foremost, I’ve learned my lesson over the years, I’ve got to look after the club. I can’t be swayed just because an agent rings me up or a dad of one of the players says, ‘He’s got to leave or go out on loan’ – I can’t be working on that.
“I’ve got to look after the club first at this moment in time because it’s a difficult period. We’ve never experienced it before. In the past, where I would have let someone leave and brought someone else in, it was straightforward. But it’s not like that anymore.”
A sad sight for Celtic fans
We’ve spoken before about why a move to Celtic would suit both us and Patrick Roberts. The former Fulham prospect has only seen 256 minutes of action in 20-21. Given that he managed 18 goals and 26 assists over two seasons in Paradise (Transfermarkt), you’d have thought his stock might be higher.
Alas, spells at Girona and Norwich City haven’t improved Roberts’ career. A move to Celtic in January seems almost too perfect. We need wingers, and a winger needs minutes.
Celtic fans love Roberts for his incredible contributions during his time at the club. It’s been demoralising to watch the wide man’s career fail to take off elsewhere. He looked for all the world like an absolute star at Celtic.
Although Neil Warnock is reluctant to send Roberts back to City, it might be the best thing for him. Middlesbrough sit at an underwhelming 10th in the Championship (BBC). Their pragmatic manager will not be taking any risks on loan talent, no matter how much they may want to play.
We know all about the 23-year-old’s qualities. Not only a pacy wide player, Roberts can cut inside and provide devastating passes. His scoring touch at Celtic’s level would provide an enormous boost, too.
Celtic should really bring him back. It suits us, and it’d suit him. Barring any objections from the player himself, there’s no reason why he wouldn’t provide an immediate boost to both the team and the supporters.