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Derby County already had one of the better right-backs in the Championship at their disposal in the shape of Cyrus Christie, which has raised the question as to why they went all out to get Liverpool’s Andre Wisdom.
The Leeds-born player, who spent time on loan last season in Austria with Red Bull Salzburg, can play anywhere across the back line and is even comfortable in the midfield. In his 5 Europa League appearances last season, Widsom started three times at right-back and twice more in central defence.
This has led to some people questioning whether he will actually line up next to fellow new boy Curtis Davies. But Christie’s sale to Middlesbrough seems to have put an end to that speculation and Wisdom will surely play at full-back.
Wisdom is just 24 and played only 24 times last season. So he is clearly in need of games to reach his potential. It seems he has never yet been first choice full-back in his career, but was touted as a Premier League player, even playing 48 times at that level for Liverpool, as well as West Brom and Norwich on loan.
He had been seen as an attacking full-back but has never scored a senior league goal – something that may worry Derby fans given that they have sold a right-back who has netted 4 times for Coventry and Derby at the same stage of his career as Wisdom. Every single goal is precious.
Despite this, and with Jason Shakell, Curtis Davies, Richard Keogh and Alex Pearce all at the club as central defenders, it seems like Wisdom will indeed be Derby’s first choice right-back and we will see a big improvement in him as the season goes on.
This could prove to be inspired business by Gary Rowett, as whatever Wisdom has achieved so far will surely pale into insignificance from now. Playing under-23 football, loan spells at various clubs and moving position every few games has not allowed the player to feel that he truly belongs somewhere.
The consistency and sense of importance that can be gained from having a confirmed specialised position and a four-year contract will truly give him a sense of belonging and it will bring out the best in him. His better years are still ahead of him anyway and his Premier League grounding can eventually help him shine.
In that way, he has a profile similar to that of Danny Simpson who appeared not good enough for Man United but ended up gaining promotion from the Championship with Newcastle before winning the Premier League with Leicester City. This is football and anything could happen!