Feature Writer

Andre Wisdom’s Derby County loan spell has been a huge success

Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom has been a key figure while on loan for Derby County as the Midlands side qualified for the Championship play-off final on Sunday. We get the opinions of Ollie Wright from derbycountyblog.com.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 27, 2013: Liverpool's Andre Wisdom in action against Notts County during the Football League Cup 2nd Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Nigel Clough’s sacking early this season was a shock to many, but came after a disappointing start to the season at home, in which Derby suffered consecutive defeats to Leicester, Burnley and Reading. The final straw for the board came when Jack Hobbs lost his marker at a corner to head past Lee Grant, giving our bitterest rivals Nottingham Forest a 1-0 victory at the City Ground.

Defending had been a real issue for some time with Derby and an inability to cope with set pieces and crosses was a particular bone of contention among fans. I remember for a while, it seemed that whereas we had to work hard to create our goals, all the oppos needed to do was sling the ball into the box. In the first post-Clough game, newly appointed head coach Steve McClaren watched in horror from the stands as Derby weakly slumped to 1-4 at half-time against Ipswich. Three of the Tractor Boys’ goals came from set pieces.

McClaren’s response was to sign Andre Wisdom on loan and ever since, the defence has essentially been sorted. Playing at right back, he has been as good as a third centre back in providing extra height and power in our side. The manner in which he dealt with Brighton winger Kazenga LuaLua during the first leg of the play-off semi-final summed his season up – utterly assured, unfazed by pace or trickery, an all-round ‘rock at the back’, adding immensely to the solidity of our side.

Offensively as well, he has shown real aptitude. My favourite memories from his season involve him skinning two or three players on a mazy, cheeky dribble at Wigan and a storming run down the wing at Barnsley, before his cross picked out Chris Martin at the back stick for a picturebook goal in front of the delirious Rams fans. However, in recent weeks, Wisdom has been instructed by the coaching staff to hold his position more and allow left back Craig Forsyth to do more of the attacking.

My only criticism of Wisdom is that he is apparently entirely one-footed and will do almost anything to avoid using his left foot. This is a deficiency that may put a ceiling on how far he can ultimately go and something he should certainly work on, if it’s not already too late.

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I was very surprised that we were able to get Wisdom on loan and thought at the time that he would be a fantastic signing – so it has proved. His strength, technique and pace make him a totally assured presence at Championship level and I hope he is eventually able to make the step up into the Premier League.

Perhaps ultimately, his best position will be centre back, but he has done a phenomenal job for us at right back. There’s a debate to be had as to whether Wisdom or Everton’s Leon Osman now ranks as the best loan signing in Derby County’s history.

Appearances: 36
Goals: 0
Assists: 3
Passing accuracy: 82.2%

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Feature writer focussing on match and player analysis for This Is Anfield. Follow @jacklusby_ on Twitter.
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  • disgustedred

    We need him back Johnson is useless

    • Abyss

      Not useless, but far too inconsistent and unreliable. I would say Wisdom would still have very big boots to fill. Johnson may be a nightmare at the back, but going forward, he’s one of the best out there.

      • rubyrm

        Really I bet statistics show he had more backward passes when attacking this season.

        • Dave

          Of course he would. He is a full back. That doesn’t mean he is not good at going forward.

    • pob1909

      Johnson is overpaid…….

  • Arjan

    Great player but I can’t see him playing as a RB for Liverpool. He’s not fast enough, one footed and can’t dribble well. Although Johnson has been abysmal I would still play him over Wisdom. Perhaps Rodgers is developing him as a RB first so he improves his ball skills and then he’ll move him to CB eventually. Who knows. Anyways, Good luck on getting promoted Derby!

    • PatrickTheRed

      Pace is actually one of his strengths for a big lad.

    • pob1909

      the article above mentions a mazy run in which he beat 2 or 3 players – cant be that bad. Maybe he’s improved?

  • PatrickTheRed

    My only real problem with Wisdom was his defending and marking, sounds like he’s improved that side of his game. He’ll never been an attacking machine but I’d rather a solid defender at fullback than a Johnson who gets beat too much and always out of position. Liverpool need to buy two new fullbacks but Wisdom and Johnson would be decent backup players with injuries and 4 compilations to play.

  • Bosnian Scouser

    Sell Johnson, buy Richards and Wisdom would be a good substitute for him.

  • Abyss

    This is fantastic news to hear! So proud of all the boys who have gone on loan this season…it seems as though each and every one of the prominent players have had a positive impact at the club with which they have played.

    Suso, Ilori, Borini, Assaidi, Wisdom – well done to all these lads. I’m really impressed with Borini..he managed to lock down that position at Sunderland and was instrumental in their success and late cup run. I hear there’s fantastic talent from the youth team waiting to make it’s mark on the first team squad as well…would be really interested to see the summer tour for that reason.

  • Ryan Mccreadie

    If Derby get promoted, keep Wisdom there, see if he can handle the Prem and if yes then he could become an important Liverpool player in years to come. We need to sell Johnson and buy a new right and left fullback. Please make one of those Ricardo Rodriguez.

  • Jack Lusby

    Bit different in the Championship, I feel.

    The best defenders in terms of passing, having played more than 10 games this season, are:

    Richard Keogh (Derby) – 86%
    Matt Upson (Brighton) – 85%
    Nedum Onuoha (QPR) – 84%
    Andre Wisdom (Derby) 82%
    Scott Wiseman (Barnsley) – 82%

    So says it all; not to say this wouldn’t be something that Wisdom would need to adapt at Liverpool, but different leagues require different qualities.

    • ARC1997

      Its probably because they have hoof balls downfield more? Longballs straight to the target man?

      • Jack Lusby

        That’d be the lazy assumption, but you’re arguably allowed much less time on the ball in leagues like the Championship, in my opinion.

        • ARC1997

          Thank you, I wouldn’t know, don’t get a lot of Championship to where I am :P

    • Rizplanet

      Thanks… just wondering because a defender’s passes are more likely conservative and people are giving stick to Sakho for losing the ball (the man has a 92%+ completion rate this season)…

  • Joseph Collins

    i wonder if Wisdoms loan allows us to more easily sign Will Hughes? kid has what it takes, i tthink, too make it big in the Premier League. at the very least he has to be better than our current bench options for midfield.