Derby County U23s’ assistant manager Pat Lyons has said that Craig Bryson has done enough to be in first team contention for Steve McClaren’s senior side.
The midfielder was named U23s captain on Monday night against high-flying Liverpool and led by example as Derby held Michael Beale’s Reds to a 0-0 draw at the iPro Stadium.
Bryson has struggled to nail down a starting place in McClaren’s senior team of late, despite featuring heavily in his first spell as the Rams’ manager.
He has played nearly 200 times in the Championship since signing from Kilmarnock in 2011.
Bryson has featured only as a late substitute in the team’s last three outings; victories against Norwich City, Rotherham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Lyons emphatically claimed that based upon his energetic display against Liverpool, Bryson has fired himself into first team contention for the senior side’s Championship clash against Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
He said: “Craig Bryson tonight was outstanding. He went on the No.8 (Pedro Chirivella) in the second half, because we knew he was their biggest threat. If something happens in the midfield, he’s ready to go in.”
Lyons believed that Bryson’s inclusion in the U23s side was beneficial for all parties.
On Bryson, and other first team players Marcus Olsson and Abdoul Camara, who both featured, Lyons said: “It was a good opportunity for them to be out there in front of first team management.”
All three benefited from playing in a similar system to that of the senior side, operating in a 4-3-3 formation with a holding midfielder, two wingers and a lone striker.
Lyons said: “The philosophy of the club is a 4-3-3. The majority of the time we will try to follow the first team. We want competition for places, we want people to be under pressure.”