NEW loan signing Andre Wisdom showed his quality on his first appearance for Derby County, says head coach Steve McClaren.
Wisdom made his debut in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Birmingham City at Pride Park Stadium.
The 20-year-old defender is on a season-long youth loan from Liverpool and was selected at right back ahead of Adam Smith, who is on loan from Tottenham Hotspur.
Wisdom can also play centre back and Derby currently have three central defenders sidelined through injury – Zak Whitbread, Mark O’Brien and Shaun Barker.
McClaren said he went with Wisdom at right-back to strengthen the back four, given the threat posed by Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic.
“We felt with Zigic playing it was an opportunity to make sure we had a strong and tall back four,” McClaren said.
“Adam Smith has done very well for us and I have no qualms with Adam, but Andre Wisdom came in and adapted very well.
“He showed his quality, his strength and he was good on the ball.
“All the qualities you expect from a player from Liverpool.
“I thought all the back four did well, to be fair.
“One reason why we played Wisdom was because we knew Birmingham would hit diagonals onto the right hand side and set-plays were always going to be a danger – but overall I thought we defended well.”
Derby took the lead through Jamie Ward six minutes before half time, only for substitute Lee Novak to equalise after 66 minutes, and a minute after coming on.
McClaren admitted the manner in which Derby conceded was disappointing.
He said: “It was a strange one.
“We lost concentration, we totally switched off but we will learn from that.”
McClaren handed Simon Dawkins his first start.
The 25-year-old is on loan from Tottenham and made his debut as a substitute in the victory at Watford a week earlier.
Dawkins played on the left before he was replaced by Mason Bennett after 65 minutes.
“I thought he (Dawkins) was lively,” said McClaren. “He has not played very often and that is why he had to come off but he did well and is our type of player.
“Him and Wardy (Jamie Ward) on the other side caused Birmingham problems.”