Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock draws comparisons to Liverpool and Manchester United full-backs when discussing Djed Spence's potential

Middlesbrough defender Djed Spence will have a protective face mask fitted for Saturday’s meeting with Bristol City after breaking his nose against Millwall.

Friday, 10th July 2020, 11:02 am
Middlesbrough's Djed Spence challenges for possession against Millwall's Murray Wallace.

The teenage full-back was elbowed in the face by Lions defender Murray Wallace late in the first half and had to wear a bandage after the interval at The Den.

Boro boss Neil Warnock praised Spence’s discipline after the game and is hopeful the youngster will be available this weekend.

“This morning he was at the hospital at 7.15am I think because it was important he was at training.,” said Warnock when asked about Spence on Friday morning. “He’s having a mask measured to fit to see if he can breathe ok and enable him to play."

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After the Millwall game Lions boss Gary Rowett said Boro had made a complaint about the Spence incident, yet Warnock says he isn’t aware of anything.

“I’m not aware of any complaints,” added Warnock. “I know Gary said, I’ve not complained anyhow, I don’t know if the referee has missed something or what have you.

“You just get on with things like that, it's lucky for Djed that it doesn’t affect his looks.”

Warnock also believes Spence, 19, can go right to the top after breaking into Boro’s first team this campaign.

When asked what the teenager needs to do to fulfill his potential, Warnock replied: “I think in Djed’s case it’s more of a mental issue he’s going to have in the next couple of years.

“I think his mentality and what you need to play at the top level, it’s a hard league that league, the Championship is hard as well.

“To get to the very top level you have to be mentally strong, he’s only a young lad at the minute and he’s got a lot to learn.

Warnock even made comparisons to other right-backs, including Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold and Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka, as well as Nathaniel Clyne who he worked with at Crystal Palace.

“I hope that I can teach him certain things,” added Warnock when discussing Spence. “He reminds me very much of Nathaniel Clyne who I had at Palace who was a really nice lad and had to learn how to look after himself.

“You look at one or two or the others now, Trent Alexander-Arnold at Liverpool and Wan-Bissaka at Man United, they are all that type.

“He has got enormous ability and when you have that ability it’s criminal if you don’t get to the very top.

“I said to him in the first couple of weeks he will only have himself to blame if he doesn’t get to the very top but he has got quite a few things to brush up on at the minute and I’m sure he will try, he’s a very good trainer and works hard.”

Spence only made his Championship debut for Boro in December and has featured 20 times for the Teessiders in all competitions this campaign.