'He never shuts up': Neil Warnock reveals the most vocal members of Middlesbrough's squad

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When Neil Warnock first arrived at Middlesbrough back in June, he quickly identified the squad’s lack of natural leaders.

“Are there any natural leaders here? Not that I’ve seen so far,” said the Boro boss during one of his first press conferences on Teesside. “We all like one or two nasty people, don’t we? Well, I do.”

Since then the Teessiders have made five new signings, including former Wigan captain Sam Morsy, QPR skipper Grant Hall and vocal goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.

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Warnock has also encouraged other members of the squad to be more authoritative both in games and on the training pitch, with players like Jonny Howson and George Saville stepping up.

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock.Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock.
Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock.

But when asked by the Mail if he now has the natural leaders he was initially looking for, Warnock replied: “Not really no, not the type I was looking for when I came in. I don’t think they are about really, I don’t think they are available.

“We’ve had to try and do it slightly different and make them all types of captains on the field.

“Sam Morsy, I think he gives us a little bit more than what we’ve had. Jonny has stepped up, he’s never been a vocal lad but I think the way he plays has led us and I think those two have been instrumental.

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“I think Sav has stepped up to the mark as well, I’ve asked people to take a bit more responsibility and I think they have done that.”

When asked who the most vocal players are on a day-to-day basis, Warnock also picked out Marcus Tavernier, Dael Fry, Anfernee Dijksteel and Paddy McNair as players who have become more dominant figures.

Combative midfielder Morsy has clearly had a positive impact in the dressing room, though, with the 29-year-old’s intensity remaining high in training.

“Sam never shuts up and he kicks everybody every day,” added Warnock. “You can’t hold anything against him because he does it every day with tackles flying in and you can’t hold him back.

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“I think Sav, Tav and I’ve noticed a little bit of difference in Dael as well. Dijksteel has come out of his shell a bit now and you know what you’re getting with Paddy.

“Paddy doesn’t have to shout, Paddy does it with his authority with the way he plays and talks, he’s sort of a quiet talker but he gets over the points he’s got.

“I think we have taken more on board and rather than having an out-and-out vocal leader I think we’ve got six or seven that have stepped up really to help the rest of the lads.”

Warnock made striker Britt Assombalonga Boro captain at the start of the season and says the 27-year-old is also an influential figure.

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"I think he’s helped me a lot,” said Warnock when asked about Assombalonga. “What you don’t see is what he does off the field as well. He’s always talking to the younger lads and I think that’s what I noticed about him, the help that I get.

"If I need anything I just go and see Britt whereas in the past you have to go and find out this, that and the other.

“I know that Britt knows everything in that dressing room.”

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