Boro legend & BBC Tees expert Neil Maddison backs Aitor Karanka at Middlesbrough


NEIL Maddison has every confidence in Aitor Karanka’s talent identification to fill the three positions that Middlesbrough are most keen to recruit in.

The Boro legend championed the Spaniard’s first nine months in charge on Teesside, pointing out the tightly-knit team environment which he has generated.

This pre-season, however, has been a one for transfer rumours rather than transfer confirmations, with just Spanish striker Kike signing. Doncaster Rovers left-back James Husband is expected to sign soon.

Just over a week is left until the Championship opener against Birmingham and additions to three prioritised areas – right-back, right-wing and another forward – have yet to be made.

But Maddison is not fretting yet, citing Karanka’s patience as an indication of the manager’s every-detail-matters approach.

“Aitor is taking his time to bring people in but the intent is there, see Adam Clayton at Huddersfield,” the BBC Tees Boro expert summariser told SportMail.

“You don’t want to be paying over the odds.

“I’m led to believe that these players want to come but when clubs slap silly prices on them you have to look at alternatives and Aitor is right to.

“He doesn’t rush into decisions, he’s a thorough thinker and that will get us the right players.

“The season is nearly upon us and I think we will see movement in the next week.”

Karanka has repeatedly asserted his desire to sign a right-back and Maddison hopes that when – not if – a full-back is bought that he is in the mould of left-back George Friend.

“Ideally we want someone like George who was terrific last season,” he commented.

“We want someone who gets forward, is a threat attacking, overlaps and gets in the box.

“Josef Varga did a great job at right-back but going forward I want to see a lot more from a full-back.”

Kike has already received the thumbs up from Maddison on just one showing. “I thought Kike was excellent against Rochdale (in Saturday’s 3-1 friendly win at Spotland).

“His movement, his work rate, his hold-up play and his willingness to get behind the defence was great.

“Yes it was against League One opposition but the right attributes were there.

“I was impressed – he seems a great prospect.”