Patrick Roberts said he has no regrets’ about joining Celtic on loan after an outstanding performance in the 1-1 Champions League draw with his parent club Manchester City and is determined to show he is capable of starring for Pep Guardiola’s side.
The England youth international, who moved to City from Fulham in July 2015 for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £11m, was only permitted to play at the Etihad Stadium because his father, Neil, insisted he should be allowed to play if the two clubs were drawn against each other. That proved to be Celtic’s gain as the 19-year-old scored a brilliant individual goal in the fourth minute that was cancelled out by Kelechi Iheanacho.
Roberts was asked whether he feels he can make an impact at City when his 18-month loan expires. “I always believe in myself and my ability and will show it whenever I get the chance,” he said. “I want to finish the season strongly with Celtic and see where it goes from there. I know what I am capable of. It is about what you do on the pitch, not how much you cost.”
Signed from AFC Wimbledon at the age of 13, Roberts shone in Fulham’s youth sides and has been a regular for England at every age group since under-16s. Despite making three appearances for City, which included a four-minute Premier League debut in the 4-1 defeat at Tottenham in September 2015, Tuesday night was the first time he had played at the Etihad Stadium but it did not take long for him to feel at home. His performance certainly caught the eye of Guardiola, who saw his young side struggle to break down a stubborn Celtic defence to end with their second draw against the Scottish champions in the group stages. “He just said well done and keep it going. That was nice,” Roberts said. “[City are in touch with me] all the time. They call me, text me. I saw someone yesterday and they sat down with me for a while. Someone comes to see me play. I keep in touch all the time. They have been great with me while I have been away.
“I am sure the manager gets reports. Matches are on TV as well. That is the luxury of being at a club like Celtic. The games are always on TV so you know people can watch.”
After six goals in only 11 SPL appearances last season, Roberts has been used sparingly in the league by Brendan Rodgers but has made nine Champions League appearances this season after Celtic came through two qualifying rounds. He believes experience and the similar tactics employed by Rodgers and Guardiola will stand him in good stead.
“The manager has indicated what he wants from the team. Every game he wants us to press high and win the ball back as quickly as we can, go on the counter-attack and be very positive in the final third,” Roberts said. “At times we have been this season and it showed in some of the performances. We have scored a lot of goals and we have put some good performances together against top sides like Barcelona and City and Borussia Mönchengladbach.
“Celtic have high expectations,” he added. “They have to be winning every game. Like City they are a team everyone wants to beat. You have to have the mentality to overcome that. When teams try to stop you playing, you need a good mindset for how to break that down. That is the glory of going away to Celtic. They have high expectations and they want to win every game.”
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