Joe Nicholson's Middlesbrough player ratings: Two 9s as 'outstanding' duo star

Middlesbrough have eight more Championship games this season – with Neil Warnock’s side still in with a chance of finishing in the play-off places.

Sunday, 28th March 2021, 1:16 pm
Marc Bola of Middlesbrough celebrates with team-mates after scoring against Reading.

The Teessiders have made significant improvements since last year but Warnock will still feel his side should have more points on the board.

A 1-0 defeat at Millwall last time out was hugely frustrating for the Boro boss, whose side are now six points off the play-off positions.

There have been plenty of impressive performances this season, though, which included a 10-game unbeaten run at the start of the campaign.

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It's been a mixed season for the Fulham loanee. Bettinelli has kept 13 clean sheets in the Championship this season but has also made some costly mistakes. 6.5

Boro have also made several new signings over the last 12 months, with Grant Hall, Marcus Bettinelli, Sam Morsy and Chuba Akpom joining in the summer transfer window.

Duncan Watmore, Darnell Fisher, Yannick Bolasie, Neeskens Kebano and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing have also arrived on Teesside during the campaign.

Our Boro writer has rated every player’s performances based on their individual displays and overall contribution to the side this season.

After an injury-hit 2019/20 season, the defender has taken his game to another level this campaign. Dijksteel has performed well on the right of a back three and at right-back. Unfortunately he has been ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury.
It's been a frustrating first season at Boro for the centre-back who has only made 11 league appearances due to injury setbacks. Since returning to the first team in February, Hall has been excellent in the heart of the Teessiders defence, which is a testament to his character and determination to get back. 7
Warnock has consistently praised the 23-year-old centre-back who has been at the heart of Boro's defence for most of the campaign. Fry has looked back to his best this season and been a commanding figure at the back. 9
The Northern Ireland international is the only outfield player who has played every minute of every game. McNair has been outstanding at the back and impressed after moving into midfield in recent weeks. 9
After arriving in January from Preston, the 26-year-old right-back made an impressive start to his Boro career before an Achilles issue caused him to miss a few games. 7
After being sent out to Blackpool on loan last season, the 23-year-old has become Boro's first-choice left back this season and performed consistently throughout the campaign. 8
At the start of the season Spence was Boro's No 1 right-back but has struggled to keep his place. The 20-year-old still has time on his side but will hope to find more consistency next term. 5
Perhaps a little harsh on the left-back who excelled last season and looked determined to take his chance. It hasn't worked out for the 22-year-old this term, though, and he's made just three league starts. 4
It's been a stop-start season for the 30-year-old but he has impressed when he's played this season. Johnson has scored four goals and provided five assists this term. 7
Signed as a holding midfielder from Wigan, the 29-year-old has also shown his offensive qualities by contributing with five assists. Morsy's ability to break up play read the game has proved valuable. 8
Despite some injury setbacks, Tavernier has enjoyed his best Boro season so far. The Teessiders have missed his energy when he's been out of the side but he will hope to add more goals and assists. 7.5
Wing had to wait until November to make his first league start of the season. Despite an impressive performance in a 4-1 win at Birmingham, the midfielder's lack of game time led to a loan move to Rotherham in January. 5
Things looked like they were just starting to click for Browne after he played a key role in Boro's 3-1 win at Wycombe. Unfortunately, the 23-year-old was ruled out for the rest of the season a week later after he was stretchered off in the FA Cup match at Brentford. 5
It feels like we still haven't seen the best of Bolasie who missed a couple of games with a hamstring injury after arriving in January. The 31-year-old's quality is obvious though. 6
Back in midfield after switching positions last term. Howson has been Boro's No 1 option in the holding midfield role and was made club captain in February. 8
Another January signing who has shown promise and will hopefully improve for the final eight games of the season. 6
A player who Warnock was desperate to sign on loan from Fulham in January. Kebano scored on his second appearance for the Teessiders at Derby and given the side more creativity. 7
The Northern Ireland international was a regular starter at the beginning of the campaign and performed well in a box-to-box midfield role. Saville has dropped out of the side in recent weeks but is still a key player in the squad. 7.5
There's no doubt it's been a disappointing season for the striker who has scored just five goals in 29 Championship appearances. We have seen flashes of Assombalonga's ability in games at Birmingham and Nottingham Forest but they have been few and far between. 5
After a promising start, scoring in his first two Boro appearances, Akpom has struggled in his first season at the club. The 25-year-old hasn't appeared to suit the Teessiders' system, scoring four Championship goals in 32 appearances. 5
This looked like a season where we could see the best of Fletcher who was Boro's top scorer last season. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury has kept the striker sidelined for most of the campaign. 5
After signing a short-term deal at Boro in November, Watmore made a blistering start, scoring braces against Swansea and Millwall. The forward has been in and out of the side in recent weeks but remains the club's top scorer with six goals. 7.5