BRIAN MCDERMOTT believes Sam Byram is committed to remaining with Leeds United next season and has claimed again that the right-back’s development will be best served at Elland Road.
McDermott said he had no expectation of either Byram or Leeds attempting to line up a move in the transfer window and insisted he was “not concerned” about the future of United’s £8million-rated defender.
The 19-year-old is poised to make his international debut with England’s Under-20s next month, a fitting end to a first season at Elland Road which earned him multiple player-of-the-year awards and a contract extension until 2016.
Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff City were three of the clubs who showed an interest in Byram during the second half of the 2012-13 campaign but McDermott said no bids had been tabled and the Leeds boss appears increasingly optimistic of starting the new term with the talented teenager at his disposal.
McDermott said: “Sam wants to be here next season and the club want him to be here next season. I’m absolutely certain of that. If someone does try to push him in a different direction then it won’t be the player or the club who are doing the pushing. I’m not concerned about it.
“For me his development as a player will be so much better and quicker through regular football, and the games he’s had at Leeds have done him the power of good. You can see that he’s loving it and I feel very strongly that he’s in the right place. I know he thinks so too. Why would he want to go anywhere else?”
Byram is bidding to make the cut for the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey having earned a place in Peter Taylor’s provisional 35-man England squad.
Leeds centre-back Tom Lees, meanwhile, will travel to the European Under-21 Championship next month, a tournament renowned for attracting scouts from leading English clubs.
McDermott, who will confirm United’s pre-season schedule in the next seven days, said: “I never worry about that. I’ve had good players before, some of whom attracted attention.
“Sam and Tom were desperate to go and play for their country and you can’t hold young lads back. It’s fantastic experience and I’m really pleased. They both deserve it and as far as their conditioning goes, it’ll be managed.”