REJUVENATED Leeds United full-back Sam Byram says he is getting back to his best – and admits that the current international break has arrived at a bad time for him.
Byram, a revelation in his breakthrough campaign in 2012-13, has started United’s last two games under full-time head coach Neil Redfearn and rewound the clock with a dynamic performance in Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Blackpool at Elland Road.
His vibrant display was hailed by Redfearn, who said that the defender ‘looked more like himself’ following the game while United legend Eddie Gray felt that the 21-year-old produced a man-of-the-match showing.
For his part, Byram, now free of the injury problems which dogged him for parts of last term, is delighted with his recent upturn, with the only disappointment being a badly-timed international fortnight.
Byram, hoping to carry on where he left off on the resumption of Championship action, at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday week, said: “I feel like I am playing better, like how I was before and the break has probably come at a bad time for me.
“It’s two games back and I feel like I am getting my form back, so I am eager to get started again.”
On the much-needed three points against Blackpool, which saw United end their eight-match winless streak and produce an exhilarating first-half which saw them plunder three goals, he added: “I think we had a good first half and knew they were going to come out strong in the second half, which was a bit more of a defensive performance, but it was good to get the three points.
“It was good to play in and good fun and good to get three goals.
“It was good to finish on a high and to go into the international break with that win for the team was a real confidence boost.”
Most supporters will see it as no coincidence that Byram is enjoying a renaissance with Redfearn at the United helm, with the head coach having long been a champion of Byram’s talent.
Just last week Redfearn labelled him as “one of the best young full-backs in the country”, but equally believes that Bryam has been the victim of being mismanaged by previous regimes – with the duty of care towards him not what it should have been on occasions.
For his part, Byram is thrilled that Redfearn is now overseeing his development on a daily basis and is hoping it will continue to get the best out of him.
He said: “Neil has been great. He gives us confidence and we played under him before and you know what get from him and I think you can see in our performances under him that we play with confidence.
“He has been a breath of fresh air for me and given me real confidence to go out and play.
“He is positive and everything is positive and everyone is really enjoying it and it’s a different place at the minute and it’s going well.”