Middlesbrough’s England U19 prospect excited by Burton Albion chance

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BRYN Morris has revealed that he turned down League One teams to join Burton Albion on loan.

The Hartlepool-born midfielder joined the high-flying Brewers on a one month loan, the first time the 18-year-old has been leased out by his parent club Middlesbrough.

Burton host Hartlepool United in three weeks time, presenting the opportunity for Morris to play against his hometown club.

Morris has been yearning for a temporary move away from the Riverside to gain experience, with SportMail understanding that Boro’s coaches admit that the U21 league is not as suitable for the England U19s captain’s development as the Football League.

He hasn’t been short of admirers, but when former Chelsea and Boro forward Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, now manager at the Pirelli Stadium, made contact on Wednesday, the former High Tunstall pupil headed to Staffordshire in an instant.

“A few clubs in League One were sniffing about but it’s better to be in a winning dressing room like Burton’s than a losing one,” Morris told SportMail on the eve of fourth-placed Burton’s clash with top-of-the-table Luton Town tomorrow.

“I’m pleased to have got my loan because I’ve wanted it for a few months now to gain experience.

“I’ve had to be patient because when you’re young, like I am, and have little experience of playing league football, managers don’t want to take a gamble when winning is so important.”

Detailing how the move came about, he said: “Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink rang up on Wednesday when I was with my agent and asked if I was ready.

“He said they want to play football, but I have to earn the right to be in the team.

“I have to be prepared mentally and physically because there’ll be tackles flying in.”

Morris has already played three times for Boro – making his debut as a 16-year-old against Hastings Town in the FA Cup in January 2013 and then two second half substitute appearances at Sheffield Wednesday and Yeovil Town on the final day of the past two seasons.

Drawing on the knowledge of those games, his 29 England youth caps and training with Aitor Karanka’s first team means that any rough’n’ready stuff in League Two holds no fears.

He added: “I know I can handle it. I’m confident I can.

“I train with the Boro first team everyday and they’re physical players.

“I’m strong enough and fit enough.

“I knew it would be different.

“Here at Burton, I’m living and having breakfast at a hotel, we get changed at the stadium, then go to St George’s Park, then come back to the stadium to have dinner.

“St George’s is great facilities for a League Two club. I’ve settled in well and the lads are great.”

The loan window is to shut before January meaning that the loan deal cannot be renewed before the festive schedule. But once reopened Morris is likely to go back out on loan.

– CHRIS BELL