Derby County youngster Louie Sibley says he’s keen to build on his impressive appearance against Manchester United and prove to manager Phillip Cocu he’s worthy of more first-team outings in the future.
The midfielder starred for the Rams in their 3-0 defeat to the Premier League giants in the Fifth Round of the Emirates FA Cup at Pride Park Stadium on Thursday evening.
He defied his lack of senior experience, making his first start on home turf in the cup tie, with a promising display in an attacking midfield role.
The Academy graduate went close to opening the scoring early on with a stunning long-range strike which went just wide and was also involved in some of Derby’s best spells of the game.
Sibley was one of five players to have come through the club’s Academy system to be in the starting line-up, while Morgan Whittaker came off the bench before half-time to take the number up to six.
The 18-year-old, who has made seven first-team appearances in total this season, is keen to keep working hard to improve his game under manager Phillip Cocu and prove, when called upon, that he is ready to grasp the opportunity to impress.
Sibley told RamsTV: “It was literally amazing to play. I want to be involved in the first team so I’ll keep pushing myself and working hard every day and hopefully more appearances will come.
“I’ve been with the Under-23s for a bit so it’s been a step up, but I am eager to keep going. I need to prove to the gaffer and the staff that I am ready (when called upon). Nothing changes, I need to work hard and see where it takes me.
“I was told a couple of days before that I was starting and I couldn’t stop smiling because I knew how big the match was and we had six players that have come from the Academy on the pitch.”
The England youth international added: “It’s amazing for us all coming through. It is what we all dreamed of and what we all want as players, especially as quite a few of us like Jason Knight, Morgan Whittaker, Max Bird and myself have come through together.
“The coaches told me to not change in what I did on the pitch and just tried to play my normal football. I think as a young player to show you are playing with no fear is a massive thing.”
Sibley felt a 3-0 defeat against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s star-studded side was harsh.
As well as going close himself, Derby also saw Wayne Rooney and Jack Marriott denied by Sergio Romero and Martyn Waghorn directed a header narrowly wide.
Derby’s focus now turns to Sunday’s home fixture against Blackburn Rovers in the Sky Bet Championship (3pm kick-off).
He added: “It didn’t go our way, but I thought we dug in and to be honest I didn’t think it was a ‘3-0’ game. We still played our football and battled well as a team.
“We created a few chances. Wayne Rooney had a few free-kicks which were saved, I had a shot that went wide as well, but it just wasn’t our day.
“Now we move on to Sunday against Blackburn and we know that is a big game back at Pride Park. Hopefully we can get another win and try and get ourselves on a good run.”