Louie Sibley described himself as ‘buzzing’ as he rounded off his breakthrough season at Derby County with a goal on Wednesday.
The 18-year-old midfielder came off the bench to score Derby’s final goal of the Sky Bet Championship season in their 3-1 victory at Birmingham City.
Sibley’s fine left-foot effort from the edge of the box rounded off a memorable campaign for the youngster.
Just over a year ago, the Academy graduate was looking to establish himself in Derby’s Under-23s after starring in the Under-18s’ title-winning campaign in 2018/19.
His fine form in the opening months of the season for the Under-23s, as well as for the Under-19s in their UEFA Youth League campaign, quickly fired him into first-team contention.
After making his first-ever league start in March, which he marked with a stunning long-range strike in a 3-0 home win against Blackburn Rovers, Sibley has not looked back.
He netted a hat-trick in Derby’s 3-2 success at Millwall in June in what was their first game back in action following the three-month suspension of the season due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Sibley concluded the campaign with five goals from 17 appearances and, as well as being happy to end the season on a high note, he is already looking to kick on next time around.
“We knew we had to have a big performance to end the season on a high and that’s what we did,” Sibley told RamsTV after the game.
“I thought the lads were really good from start to finish. Birmingham were fighting to stay up, so it was a good team performance to get the win.
“Morgan (Whittaker) got his first goal and obviously I got a goal at the end as as well, so both of us are buzzing going into the break.”
He added: “Now we have a break and we will come back refreshed ready to come back for next season.
“It won’t be a long break, but we will make sure we get some rest.”
Sibley was thrilled to see his team-mate Whittaker net his first-ever senior goal in the win over Birmingham.
The striker, like Sibley, has made the step-up from the Academy during the season.
The attacking midfielder knows only too well the quality Whittaker possesses in front of goal having played alongside him at youth level for many years.
He said: “Morgan deserves it. It’s been frustrating for him but when he has got the game time, he has shown what he can do.
“He’s got a goal and an assist now so it’s great when you finally get those.
“He got a header which we have been working on in training, so it’s great for him.”