Alvaro Negredo is off the mark already and Aitor Karanka is expecting big things from him in the Premier League.
Middlesbrough’s major summer signing, who joined from Valencia last week, struck in the first half of a 2-2 draw with AD Alcorcon.
Fellow Spaniard Victor Valdes also got his first run-out in Boro colours as Aitor Karanka’s side were held in their second friendly fixture in Marbella.
Boro thought they had won it at the death when Jordan Rhodes scored, only for the Spanish Second Division outfit to level from the kick-off.
But for Karanka the sight of Negredo in a red shirt AND scoring will have made him happy with the start of the season just 20 days away.
“He’s a really good player and a player who can play in the Premier League for sure,” Karanka said.
“We can’t forget that Valencia paid 30 million euros for him two years ago so a player like him, you don’t forget how to play.
“Last season he didn’t play his best and I am sure we will see his best this season.”
Valdes made one early save, but Boro were soon on top, with George Friend excelling down the left, putting in some dangerous balls.
But it was a delightfall ball from Gaston Ramirez which created the first real away chance but AD keeper Jose Benito kept out Albert Adomah’s effort on the half-hour.
However, the goal finally came on 34 minutes when a Ramirez shot rebounded off post and fell to Negredo, who cleverly moved the ball around two defenders to create the room to fire a right-foot shot home.
Negredo was unlucky not to double Boro’s lead four minutes later after being fpound by Friend, but the ex-man City forward was thwarted by Benito./
Karanka made five changes at the break, with Tomas Mejias, Emilio Nsue, Cristhian Stuani, David Nugent and Jordan Rhodes all coming on for Valdes, Antonio Barragán, Adomah, Ramirez and Negredo.
Nugent shot over from inside the box early in the second period but Alcorcon levelled the score 10 minutes in when Bautista’s swerving shot from 25 yards beat Mejias.
Boro seemed to have snatched a winner came with a minute left after Carlos De Pena’s cross from the left was met by Rhodes who headed home for his fourth goal of pre-season.
However, Alcorcon managed to salvage a late equaliser, though, as a loose ball was hit past Mejias.
Hartlepool-born Bryn Morris again started at the back for Boro, playing the first 70 minutes.
AD Alcorcon: Dmitrovic, Benito, Cardona, Llorens, Vega, Pedreno, Candela, Rodriguez, Santiago, Teijero, Gutierrez. Subs: Razvan, Peralta, Lopez, Serna, Alonso, Vazquez, D Lopez, M Lopez, Tapia, Romagnogli.
Boro: Valdes (Mejias 46), Barragan (Nsue 46), Morris (De Sart 71), Gibson (Baptiste 71), Friend (Reach 71), Clayton (Forshaw 71), De Roon (Fischer 71), Adomah (Stuani 46), Ramirez (Nugent 46), Downing (De Pena 59), Negredo (Rhodes 46).