SIMON GRAYSON says Huddersfield Town new boy Jermaine Beckford is a better player than when he worked with him at Leeds.
The 28-year-old Leicester loanee – prevented from playing against his parent club at the John Smith’s Stadium tomorrow under the terms of his move – notched 85 goals for the Elland Road side and helped them win promotion from League I under Grayson before moving to Everton in the summer of 2010.
Then-Leicester chief Sven Goran Erikkson splashed out an initial £2.5m to sign him 12 months later, but having fallen out of favour under current Foxes manager Nigel Pearson, Town’s drawn-out chase to bring in Beckford finally bore fruit on Friday, with the one-time Chelsea junior then non-league player handed a start in Saturday’s 3-2 home defeat by Watford.
Click below to open a match action picture gallery
While Beckford politely declined requests to give a post-debut interview, Grayson hailed the hard-work of chairman Dean Hoyle and chief executive Nigel Clibbens in clinching an initial 93-day loan which could be made into a permanent transfer during the January transfer window.
And while revealing Beckford has made a “salary sacrifice”, Grayson said Town have “pushed the boat out” to land a player they came within minutes of signing in the wake of Jordan Rhodes’ transfer to Blackburn August.
“Obviously he’s a player I know well, and I think he’s a great acqusition,” said the boss.
“Lots of clubs would have liked him so to have the backing of the chairman to get him in here speaks volumes about this club.
“Hopefully we will see the rewards and I think Jermaine has learned a lot since I was with him at Leeds through working with better players at a better level.