Sam Byram was substituted on against Charlton on Saturday as a replacement for Gaetano Berardi, and Steve Evans has admitted to the Yorkshire Evening Times that he has no problem playing the wantaway defender before the January transfer window.
Evans said: “I’m not going to be scared to play Sam Byram if it’s the right thing to do. When it goes past January 1, I’ve got a different view on that and I’ve shared it. But Berardi would be a loss.”
Evans was speaking in the aftermath of the 0-0 draw with Charlton, which saw Berardi taken off the field of play with an injury. There are no confirmations about the length of the injury, but if the full-back is set to be out of action for an extended period of time, the manager will have to choose between playing either Byram or Scott Wootton.
Wootton started at right-back against Charlton, and although Byram’s form has dropped this season, he is still a more talented full-back.
However, he has not been playing frequently due to the ongoing situation concerning his contract, having rejected a new offer and all-but confirming his exit from Elland Road, either in January or next summer for free.
Evans has so far been unwilling to throw Byram into the limelight with him set to leave in a few months, but the manager has confirmed he is willing to play the full-back over the coming weeks to cover for Berardi if he is out for an extended period of time.
He will only play the 22-year-old if it is the right thing to do, and he makes it apparent that Byram will not be playing after January 1st, when the manager wants Leeds to sell him.
Byram’s future looks to be set away from Elland Road, but the coming weeks could see the full-back thrust into the first-team picture once again.