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