George Friend's major quality clear to see as young Middlesbrough midfielders impress: Bishop Auckland HT verdict
Middlesbrough stormed into a 4-0 lead in the first half of their pre-season friendly at Bishop Auckland, courtesy of goals from Ben Liddle, Conner Malley, Rumarne Burrell and Marvin Johnson.
Boro’s starting XI contained a mixture of youth and experience as senior figures George Friend, Adam Clayton and Marvin Johnson all started for the visitors.
Friend, Boro’s senior captain, was handed his first start of pre-season following a hip injury he picked up last term, and started at centre-back in a 4-1-4-1 formation.
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The 31-year-old’s leadership qualities were clear to see in the first half, with the defender consistently guiding and instructing young left-back Hayden Coulson in the opening 45 minutes.
Boro’s young midfield partnership of Liddle and Malley also looked impressive in the opening period, with the former opening the scoring from the penalty spot and the latter doubling Boro’s lead with an neat finish from a tight angle.