Phillip Cocu says Duane Holmes’ return from injury provides Derby County a different attacking option.

The USA international midfielder made his first league start of the campaign in Friday night’s 1-1 draw against Cardiff City at Pride Park Stadium.

The 24-year-old missed all of Derby’s pre-season campaign after suffering a recurrence of a muscle injury, sustained towards the end of last season, whilst on international duty in June.

He returned to action last month and impressed against the Bluebirds by producing a lively display after being deployed in an attacking midfield role.

Holmes was involved in the move that led to Scott Malone’s early goal and proved to be a threat to the Cardiff backline all evening before being replaced by Florian Jozefzoon with nine minutes of normal time remaining.

Cocu was impressed with what he saw from Holmes and feels his raw pace and direct play can ask questions of opponents.

He told RamsTV: “I thought Duane played a very good game on Friday.

“I put him in this position, in midfield, because of his pace and his runs without the ball.

“With his passing technique and his ability to touch and move is very fast in the first ten yards or so.

“It is normal that he had to go off late in the game; he missed pre-season and a lot of games and he had cramp.

“I am very happy he has joined the team and he gives us another option in midfield.”

Holmes, after joining Derby at the start of last season from Scunthorpe United, made 32 appearances during the campaign and found the net on two occasions.

His form resulted in his first call-up to the USA national side last summer and had it not been for injury he would have been part of their squad for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.