'He’s the best player in the club in training in those situations': Neil Warnock's surprising comments after Watford draw
Neil Warnock says Hayden Coulson has been one of Middlesbrough’s best players in training – despite the wideman’s lack of game time.
Coulson broke into Boro’s first team under Jonathan Woodgate during the 2019/20 campaign, when the winger impressed with his speed and directness on the ball.
Yet the 22-year-old has fallen down the pecking order under Warnock and started just three Championship fixtures this season.
Coulson came off the bench during Boro’s 1-1 draw with Watford, following an injury to Sam Morsy, and operated in an unfamiliar number 10 position behind forward Duncab Watmore.
When asked about Coulson by the Mail after the match, Warnock replied: “In the first five minutes he looked like he was a rabbit in the headlights.
“But he does so well in training in that sort of situation in tight areas with bodies around him, he’s the best player in the club in training in those tight situations.
“We just said why don’t we give him a chance at number 10, that’s what we said and this opportunity came.”
"There was only Marvin (Johnson) defensively on the bench other than Hayden, everyone else was a forward so we didn’t have much options really.
“It was a good time to have a look at that position and I think he revelled in it after that first few minutes, he looked like he was a breath of fresh air and that’s how he’s been in training.”
Based on those comments and last season’s performances, it’s surprising Coulson hasn’t received more game time this campaign.