Middlesbrough star looking to impress after successful Bristol Rovers loan is rewarded with four-year deal

Middlesbrough’s breakthrough academy star Josh Coburn is looking to cement his spot in Michael Carrick’s first team plans this season after agreeing a new deal at the Riverside.
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Coburn signed a new four-year contract on Teesside after returning from a successful loan spell in League One with Bristol Rovers last season.

The 20-year-old striker made his Boro debut under Neil Warnock in a win at Rotherham United in 2021 before opening his account on his home debut in a win over Sheffield Wednesday.

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He went on to make 22 appearances during the 2021-22 campaign where he scored five times, including an historic winner over Tottenham Hotspur at the Riverside to book Boro's place in the FA Cup quarter-final.

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Josh Coburn of Middlesbrough celebrates after scoring the first goal during the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Middlesbrough and Tottenham Hotspur at Riverside Stadium on March 01, 2022 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Josh Coburn of Middlesbrough celebrates after scoring the first goal during the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Middlesbrough and Tottenham Hotspur at Riverside Stadium on March 01, 2022 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Josh Coburn of Middlesbrough celebrates after scoring the first goal during the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Middlesbrough and Tottenham Hotspur at Riverside Stadium on March 01, 2022 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

But despite featuring in Boro's opening day draw with West Bromwich Albion last season, the striker would head out to Joey Barton’s side on a season-long loan deal, scoring 10 times and becoming a favourite with Gas fans.

Coburn’s form at the Memorial Stadium led to boss Barton suggesting the young striker could play for England one day if he is to continue on a similar trajectory.

Speaking in December, Barton said: “For 20, you’ll struggle to see someone come into League One and handle the game at the level that he does.

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“I’ve said it many times before I think he’s a real talent, Middlesbrough have got a fantastic prospect on their hands.

Middlesbrough forward Josh Coburn spent the season on loan with Bristol Rovers. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)Middlesbrough forward Josh Coburn spent the season on loan with Bristol Rovers. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Middlesbrough forward Josh Coburn spent the season on loan with Bristol Rovers. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

"Josh has got that level of looking for physicality but he’s got a real touch of class about him. It’s a rare combination.

“I think he has an enormous future out in front of him if he gets a little bit of luck with injuries, I think he could go on to play for England.”

First things first for Coburn, however, is to establish himself as a regular in Carrick’s side in what Boro will hope to be another tilt at promotion to the Premier League following last season’s play-off semi-final defeat.

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"Being on loan last season, I’ve had that experience now and coming back here I feel like I just want to push on,” Coburn explained after agreeing a new four-year deal with the club.

"I just felt like I needed that experience – coming off the bench is good but I felt like I needed to start games and experience men’s football a lot more.

“I think it’s benefited me massively, getting me used to that physicality week in, week out. You come up against much stronger, bigger players so you need to be more streetwise to know how to cope with them. It was a really good season.”

Despite being away from the club last season, Coburn kept a watchful eye over events on Teesside and admits he feels excited by the prospect of featuring in Carrick's side.

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“I kept a close eye on what was going on and watched a few games – seeing how they played their football and how many chances they created is brilliant for me, I just wanted to get back and start working with them,” said Coburn.

“Getting into the starting XI is my main aim and playing week in, week out for Middlesbrough. That’s what I want to do, coming through the academy it would be a dream to play week in, week out for them.”