Tony Pulis has hailed Ben Gibson as one of the best professionals he has worked with after the defender completed his £15million move to Burnley.
Gibson has signed a four-year-deal at Turf Moor after Burnley paid a joint club record fee for the centre-back, who becomes Burnley’s first summer signing.
The 25-year-old didn’t travel with Boro to Millwall on Saturday for their dramatic 2-2 draw and afterwards Pulis paid tribute to the centre back.
Pulis said: “It’s done and we want to thank Ben, an absolutely fantastic professional.
“In the six months I’ve had at this football club he’s as good a professional as I’ve ever worked with and I spoke to Sean Dyche and Dychey’s got a real, top, top player.”
Gibson – nephew of Boro chairman Steve – came through the youth ranks at the Riverside Stadium and made his senior debut as a substitute in a Championship fixture in April, 2011.
Gibson has been a key part of the Boro defence, left-back George Friend has wished his former teammate well.
Friend told the Evening Gazette: “We all know he’s an incredible player, he’s a local lad to Middlesbrough so it makes it a bit harder.
“He’s been an absolute pleasure to play with. I won’t miss him saying ‘get narrow George, get narrow George’, which he always used to say!
“But I knew I could always depend in him, brilliant on the ball, great talker, a good footballer, a good defender, destined for the top in my opinion.”
Boro came from two goals down to gain a last-minute 2-2 draw away at Millwall.
Friend equalised in the seventh minute of injury-time when he turned home a deflected shot to rescue a point. Boro had found themselves 2-0 down at half-time following goals from Aiden O’Brien and Lee Gregory.
The visitors rallied but didn’t look like taking anything until Martin Braithwaite pulled one back in the 87th minute.
Pulis’ side, who were missing Wolves target Adama Traore, were second best for most of the contest and fell behind after 11 minutes when O’Brien slammed past goalkeeper Darren Randolph.
Millwall doubled their lead when a poor back-header by Aden Flint allowed Gregory to score seven minutes before the interval.
Pulis introduced Lewis Wing, Marcus Tavernier and Ashley Fletcher and the substitutions paid off. Pulis will know his side must improve when they host Sheffield United on Tuesday.