“Fearless” Marcus Tavernier has got a big future at Middlesbrough - that’s the view of former defender Neil Maddison.
The 18-year-old has burst on the Boro scene this season, scoring twice in six games.
And Maddison is of the firm belief Tavernier, the club’s match-winner last time out against Sunderland, could go a long way at the Riverside.
“Marcus Tavernier has been so impressive since he’s come into the team,” said Maddison, speaking to the club website.
“Tav’s fearless, he’s got something about him and you can see that Garry’s playing him because he trusts him.
“His job is to keep his shape defensively and he doesn’t panic, then you’ve also got the added bonus that he’s been scoring goals.
“He’s been outstanding, for such a young man to come into the side and cement his place it superb.
“He’s still got a long way to go but he’ll develop the more he plays. He’s got a big future ahead of him, is an excellent player and has had a great start to his Boro career so let’s hope for more of the same.”
Next up for Boro is a trip down the road to Leeds - and Maddison, who will be covering the game for BBC Tees, thinks a back to basics approach is paying dividends for manager Garry Monk.
“I can’t wait for this Sunday’s game at Leeds,” he said.
“The team has been so solid. Not just the back four, the whole team is a defensive unit, you can see how hard they’re working together.
“We’ve gone back to basics and it’s the old-fashioned way of having the wide men tucking in alongside the midfielders and making it strong.
“Now we’ve also got our two forwards up top together who are playing so well, scoring goals and working so hard.”
The game not only represents a bit of fiery encounter against one of Boro’s near rivals, it also has the added spice of a return to Elland Road for Monk.
“Garry is probably going to get a reception but I’m sure we’ll soak it up and enjoy it,” said Maddison.
“I think the manager will, of course, play it down and say that it’s just another game that we’ll try and win.
“Leeds are going through a rocky patch but they started so well. They’re still a good side, though, and it’s always a hard place to go to.
“I think the players have a massive responsibility. As a player going back to your old club you want to do well and it will be exactly the same for the manager.
“Garry knows what sort of team they have and they have got some very good players. On their day they can hurt people.”