'An eye for a pass' 'All the attributes': Five Middlesbrough youngsters to watch out for during the 2021/22 season
Neil Warnock will be hoping to bolster his Middlesbrough squad during this summer’s transfer window – yet the Boro boss will also be keeping a close eye on the club’s highly-rated academy set-up.
In recent years, several young players have come through the ranks to become first-team regulars.
Ahead of the 2021/22 campaign, we’ve picked out five Boro players under the age of 23 to watch out for.
The midfielder has become such a key part of Boro’s side that it’s easy to forget he’s still only 22.
Tavernier is one of the players Warnock wants to build his side around next season, and it was clear the Teessiders missed the playmaker’s energy and drive when he was out injured.
It will be interesting to see where Warnock deploys Tavernier next term, with the midfielder often providing a link to the side’s striker in the No 10 position.
The 22-year-old also possesses the pace, dribbling ability and defensive awareness to play on the flank. He’s even played as a right wing-back under Warnock.
Tavernier will want to improve his final product, though, after registering just three league goals and four assists during the 2020/21 campaign.
Boro face a potential dilemma with the 18-year-old centre-back prospect, who appears to have all the attributes to be a top defender.
Last season Wood provided capable back-up when others were out injured and impressed on his first Championship start against Nottingham Forest.
Still, there were moments when the teenager understandably looked a little shaky.
A loan move to League One side Crewe appeared to suit Wood’s development, yet the defender wasn’t always a regular starter.
With Dael Fry, Grant Hall, Anfernee Dijksteel and Paddy McNair providing strong defensive options at Boro, another loan move would probably benefit Wood.
Warnock would have to make sure he is sending the youngster somewhere he would play regularly though.
After impressing for Boro’s under-23 side and penning a new deal at the Riverside in December, Jones was loaned out to Scottish Championship side Queen of the South.
Despite suffering a hamstring injury, the 21-year-old provided six assists and one goal in 12 appearances as The Doonhamers narrowly missed out on the play-offs.
Jones, who joined Boro from non-league club Tooting and Mitcham in 2019, is highly rated at Rockliffe, yet clearly a step up to the Championship will be tricky.
His next move will be interesting.
After taking his chance to impress at the end of the campaign, the striker is likely to continue his development at Boro next term.
The 18-year-old’s goal after coming off the bench against Sheffield Wednesday was one of the moments of the season, and the forward will be keen to experience more of that.
It’s likely Coburn will continue to train with Boro’s youth team rather than leave on loan.
He is certainly one to keep an eye on.
Competition in Boro’s midfield is strong, yet Mally showed his ability when came off the bench and was awarded man of the match in a Championship match against Rotherham.
The 21-year-old has an eye for a pass and is keen to receive the ball in the middle of the park.
Malley’s loan spell at Carlisle didn’t work out last season so Boro will be assessing his situation carefully.