'He should have been at Sheffield United and Cardiff when I was there': Neil Warnock praises Middlesbrough midfielder Jonny Howson ahead of Blackburn clash

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Neil Warnock believes Middlesbrough midfielder Jonny Howson can still get even better – despite having all the attributes to play at the top level.

Howson, 32, produced a man of the match performance as the Teessiders beat Nottingham Forest at the City Ground last time out, a result which moved Boro back up to seventh in the Championship.

After the game, Warnock described Howson as the best midfielder he’s ever worked with – high praise given the Yorkshireman’s 40 years in management.

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“I just think he's got every attribute you need at the top level,” said Warnock ahead of Boro’s home game against Blackburn. “I didn't think he was that good before I came here if I'm honest.

Middlesbrough midfielder Jonny Howson.Middlesbrough midfielder Jonny Howson.
Middlesbrough midfielder Jonny Howson.

“Last season I thought he was a good player but I didn't think how good he could be. And I think the best is yet to come. I think he can get better.

"He knows where he's playing, he's not playing all over the show at full-back, centre-half. He's playing to his strengths.

"He reads the game better than anybody I've known, he's good in the air, he can tackle, he can break forward, he knows when to bring it down and play. I can go on and on. He's got all the attributes to make a good player.”

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The game at Forest was Howson’s first start for over a month following a hamstring injury, yet the midfielder’s impact was instant.

“You tend to forget when they're injured what they bring,” added Warnock. “We had a good run when Jonny got injured and you think we won't miss him as much. But it catches up and we couldn't wait to get him back.

“When you have him in the team you realise why you miss him, that's all I can say.

“When I look back at the good players I have had, the (Aron) Gunnarssons of this world, they've got certain qualities, but Jonny is complete to play in that role.

“I love him in that role, me.”

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When asked if he thought Howson should have played more games in the Premier League, Warnock joked: ”I think he should have been at Sheffield United when I was there, Cardiff when I was there, QPR when I was there.

“He's wasted his career not being with me.”

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