Patrick Roberts spent seven years at Manchester City but barely kicked a ball for them before deciding to leave and join the Black Cats and help them on their rise to the top
Patrick Roberts spent the first part of this season hitting his heels in France.
The midfielder had been practically retired from parent club Manchester City and had barely glanced at Troyes’ loan deal – the sixth time he had been shipped off by City after buying him for £12million in 2015.
The midfielder, once dubbed the ‘mini-Lionel Messi’ as he rose through the youth ranks at Fulham, might have been in league with the Argentinian and PSG superstar, but that’s about it.
He only played in one game in France – a 14-minute cameo off the bench in a 3-1 defeat at Lyon. In January the agreement was torn up and Sunderland quickly scrambles to negotiate a permanent deal for Roberts, who made just three sub appearances for City in his seven years there – all in 2015.
He has since become a permanent part of the Black Cats’ squad, starting three of their last four games as they attempted to end their long stint in the Third Division. He initially agreed to a six-month contract, but there is an option to extend it beyond that tenure. A big factor is likely to be in which league the club will play next season.
Tonight Roberts is hoping to do his part to help Alex Neil’s side reach the League One play-off final. The prize on offer is a one-off meeting with Wycombe on May 21st for a championship spot.
Before they can think about that prospect, Sunderland travel to Sheffield on Wednesday for the semi-final second leg with a narrow 1-0 lead after Friday night’s win at the Stadium of Light.
For Roberts, who played 81 minutes of the first duel, it’s a chance to inflict even more misery on the Owls. Almost a year ago today, on loan to Derby County, he scored a superb goal in a vibrant 3-3 final-day draw against Wednesday.
Robert’s superb performance from the edge of the box gave the Rams a 2-1 lead in a mammoth fight in which an away win would have demoted Wayne Rooney’s side. It would go on to finish All-Square and Derby pulled off a great escape at the expense of their drop rivals. It was a happy ending to another underperforming campaign for Roberts, who had started the season with another spell at Middlesbrough.
Tonight’s game has a similar sentiment to the showdown at Pride Park 12 months ago, with the fallout of defeat meaning another season in the Third Division for one of those great old clubs.
Shortly after his move to Wearside was completed, Roberts spoke of wanting to be part of the club’s journey to finally work their way back up the pyramid. “I can’t wait to get started,” said the 25-year-old. “The fans want you to do well and work hard every matchday and that pressure and that expectation is something I thrive on. I just want to do good for the people who support me and get Sunderland back to where they belong.”
Black Cats boss Neil, who took the reins three weeks after predecessor Lee Johnson signed Roberts, is clearly a fan of the 25-year-old – “He’s a little wizard, isn’t he?”
After years of mixed loan adventures and criticism of wasted talent, Roberts is clearly relishing the chance to scatter his stardust in an unfamiliar setting – and Sunderland are hoping that leads to a fairytale ending on May 21.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/patrick-roberts-aims-shoot-down-26912591 Patrick Roberts wants to shoot down Sheffield Wednesday again - a year after relegation