MIDDLESBROUGH new boy Josh McEachran is in line to make his debut at home to Burnley tonight (kick off 7.45pm) – and Tony Mowbray is expecting big things from the Chelsea loanee.
The 19-year-old completed his switch to the Riverside yesterday and will remain with the club until the end of the season.
McEachran has found senior opportunity limited at Stamford Bridge and it is thought his move to Boro is with the view of first-team football.
And Boro boss Mowbray – whose side are bidding to bounce back from their opening-day defeat at Barnsley – believes the classy midfielder will prove a hit on Teesside.
“From my experience of watching him play he is a very good technical footballer who is creative and has good ball retention,” said the Boro chief.
“He’s a young guy who has a very big future in the game and I think he will be a top, top player in a few years’ time. “Chelsea wanted him to come and play some football.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to get a talented individual around the team.
“Football is about players making good decisions with the ball and I think Josh can see a pass like that.
“I’m sure he will come in and help our cause.”
Mowbray fought off fierce competition for McEachran’s signature from both the Championship and top tier.
And, while there are no guarantees of a starting role, the boss is confident the England Under-21 star has what it takes to earn his place in the side.
“The competition was stiff from both the Premier League and Championship,” he explained.
“The crux of the situation was that Chelsea felt he needed to play football. “His performance level has to warrant that, of course.
“He went to Swansea on loan last season and for whatever reason didn’t play, but hopefully he can make a big impact here.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo said: “He’s a great talent and, yes, I had conversations with Josh.
“His career’s somehow stalled a little bit.
“He came onto the scene very, very early, very young, and I think it’s part of a player’s development and a young player’s career as well that you have ups and downs and you learn all the time.”