Marcus Browne impresses as Middlesbrough claim St-Etienne draw at the Riverside: Three things we learnt
Middlesbrough came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with French side St-Etienne at the Riverside – but what did we learn from the game? After falling behind to a Denis Bouanga penalty in the 67th minute, Lewis Wing equalised from a free-kick two minutes later. Here are some of the main talking points.
Marcus Browne could be the player Boro were missing last season – After arriving from West Ham earlier this week, Boro’s new signing described himself as an ‘exciting’ player.
There was certainly a degree of anticipation in the early exchanges whenever the midfielder received the ball and looked to take players on down the left flank.
Browne was backed up by the lively Hayden Coulson who was also keen to attack and opened up space for others with his forays forward from left-back.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the pair keep their places for next week’s Championship opener at Luton.
Boro need to be more clinical – The hosts were by far the better side in the opening 45 minutes but struggled to make their dominance count.
Some neat build-up play and passing through midfield opened up space for Boro’s midfielders and full-backs to push forward, yet the finishing was often wasteful.
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The hosts were almost made to pay for a handful of missed chances when St-Etienne defender Wesley Forfana headed the ball against the crossbar seven minutes before half-time.
Woodgate will need his side to be more clinical in the Championship when it really counts.
Jonny Howson looks like Boro’s first-choice right-back – At the start of the summer it looked like Woodgate was biding his time by playing Howson at right-back.
Yet with just over a week to go until the end of the transfer window, it looks like the 31-year-old is the Teessiders’ best option in the full-back berth.
Against St-Etienne, Howson showed his defensive qualities to keep the lively Arnaud Nordin on the fringes, as Boro’s backline appeared far more convincing than in recent weeks.
It remains likely Boro will try to sign at least one more full-back before the end of the transfer window, yet Woodgate should be encouraged by Howson’s performance here.