Middlesbrough assistant explains why Sam Morsy and Jonny Howson could play together against Bournemouth

Sam Morsy and Jonny Howson could form an effective midfield partnership at Middlesbrough this season, according to first-team assistant Kevin Blackwell.
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Boro signed Morsy on a three-year deal from Wigan last week, with manager Neil Warnock saying he wanted another option to play in the holding midfield role.

"I just didn’t think we had enough competition with Jonny Howson,” said Warnock when asked about the signing of Morsy on Monday.

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"I thought if anything happens to Jonny we are snookered a bit there because I’ve got plans for other players to play elsewhere.”

Sam Morsy made his Middlesbrough debut against Barnsley on Tuesday.Sam Morsy made his Middlesbrough debut against Barnsley on Tuesday.
Sam Morsy made his Middlesbrough debut against Barnsley on Tuesday.

Morsy made his Boro debut during Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat by Barnsley in the Carabao Cup, before he was replaced by Howson in the 70th minute.

Yet Blackwell believes the pair could play alongside each other and form a strong base in Boro’s engine room.

“I do think they can play together those two,” replaied Blackwell when asked about Howson and Morsy by the Mail. “I think the energy from both of them will be a real base to work from.

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“We’re looking forward to seeing Sam, that’s why he got 70 minutes the other night and he just needs some more training.

“I’m excited for Sam because everyone we spoke to has rated him highly. Personally I spoke to Peter Reid who had him at Wigan and he really couldn’t have been more complimentary of him.

“I take that a lot from Reidy because he was a dogmatic midfield player in the mold of Sam Morsy.”

Boro do of course have other midfield options, and Northern Ireland international George Saville has started every league match since Warnock’s appointment in June.

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Paddy McNair could also return to his favoured midfield position, while Marcus Tavernier has operated in an advanced central role for Boro’s first three competitive fixtures this term.

Blackwell also confirmed defender Anfernee Dijksteel is fit and available after he was replaced at half-time against Barnsley.

“He just came off because we wanted to give players 45 minutes to make sure everyone was OK, that was it really.” said Blackwell.

Blackwell didn’t report any fresh injury issues but did confirm one player has been self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19.

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