Lee Bowyer explains how ‘luxury player’ McGree proved himself

Lee Bowyer says Riley McGree has proved to him he is more than merely a ‘luxury player’.

The Birmingham City head coach chose to leave the Australian out of the starting line-up against Swansea despite his positive display at Huddersfield in midweek.

However, he brought him off the bench midway through the second half and watched as he scored his first goal of the season and provided the winner which gave Blues their first victory in eight games.

Bowyer admitted it was a tough decision to leave him out but praised the loanee for showing himself worthy of more game-time.

“He did really well on Wednesday, he started the game at Huddersfield, I know he was a bit disappointed to be left out but that’s my job I felt Scott being fresh, if we could win the ball in certain areas and Scott’s pace would get behind him and it paid off,” Bowyer said.

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“I know Riley and I can trust him. They changed shape, we changed shape and we brought Riley on and he is a player that likes to get into the box and score goals. I am really pleased for him.

“But you have to earn it, I don’t give anyone anything for nothing. Another one in training that has stepped up a little bit and said ‘Give me a chance’. That’s why he got it.

“I know how to use him, I know what he brings but it’s difficult. I’ve never seen him work as hard out of possession as what I do now.

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“I felt he was more of a luxury player before, that can play in as a ten. Everyone who says they can play as a ten to me you are a bit of a luxury player.

“But he has shown more than that. He has shown he is a ten, luxury player who will also work and compete. He showed that on Wednesday. I thought he was excellent. That’s why he’s now in and around it.”

Before Wednesday – and the 0-0 draw at Huddersfield, McGree had played just 51 minutes of Championship football.

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