Duane Holmes made his first league start of the season this weekend for Derby County since recovering from a thigh injury suffered over the summer with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Holmes started in an advanced attacking position and played 81 minutes in the Rams 1-1 draw with Cardiff City at Pride Park. After being used previously this season at right back, the midfielder returned to his traditional position and was praised by manager Phillip Cocu after his outing.
“Duane added something and that is why we put him in this position,” Cocu said. “He goes behind the defense, he goes wide, he puts in crosses – it was very good to see. He gives us more pace, he has got some speed, really good acceleration.”
Holmes finished with 36 completed passes, the most by any Derby attacking player in the match. Defensively, he won five duels, two tackles, and made three successful clearances.
The 24-year-old is in his second full season with the Rams and has three appearances under his belt in all competitions. After making 32 appearances last season under former manager Frank Lampard, Holmes’ involvement under Cocu could increase as the club tries to fight for automatic promotion into the English Premier League.
“Duane had to play right back when he came (against Nottingham Forest) after his injury, but I was happy he could play in midfield (against Cardiff). He will give us more when he has played more games,” Cocu said.
Derby (1-4-2) currently sitting in 19th in the EFL Championship, next faces a trip to promotion favorites Leeds United on Sept. 21st before closing the month out at home on the 28th against Birmingham City.