Almost two years ago, Manchester City conceded a brilliant individual goal in the group stages of the Champions League when a sprightly young winger cut inside and fizzed a laser-like shot into the bottom corner of Willy Caballero’s goal.
But it wasn’t just the nature of the finish that made this goal so special. It was scored, of course, by Patrick Roberts; the Celtic winger who was on loan at Parkhead from none other than Manchester City.
Back then, in the autumn of 2017, Roberts was in the form of his life. He was going from strength to strength under Brendan Rodgers at Celtic and comparisons with Lionel Messi (thanks to his wand of a left foot and ability to breeze past full-backs while barely breaking stride) didn’t look a million miles wide of the mark.
And as Roberts left his parent club red faced on the biggest stage of all, few would have expected that, two years on, the former Fulham wonder-kid would have slipped so rapidly from view.
The 22-year-old finally bid an emotional farewell to Celtic in the summer of 2018 when his third loan spell in Glasgow came to an end and, in the last year-and-a-half, he has played just 620 minutes of league football.
Roberts failed to earn the trust of Girona coach Eusebio during a forgettable spell in Spain, starting six La Liga matches. That is still six more than he has made since joining Norwich City on loan over the summer with Canaries coach Daniel Farke seemingly reluctant to place his trust in a talented yet enigmatic youngster.
Yet, given the chance, Celtic fans would still welcome Roberts back in a heartbeat.
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