Middlesbrough's strongest starting XI and bench - following several first-team departures

Middlesbrough have announced several first-team departures after their retained list was confirmed ahead of the 2021/22 season – but how is their squad shaping up ahead of the new campaign?

Friday, 28th May 2021, 12:41 pm
Grant Hall of Middlesbrough celebrates with teammates.

It has been known for some time that striker duo Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher will both leave this summer, while goalkeeper Jordan Archer Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Marvin Johnson won’t be offered new deals either.

It leaves the Teessiders needing to fill several positions during the transfer window, and manager Neil Warnock has previously said he wants to sign around eight or nine new players.

Boro have also seen a handful of loan players leave the Riverside, including Yannick Bolasie, Neeskens Kebano and goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Teessiders moved quickly to sign the 26-year-old, who will officially become a Boro player at the start of July when his QPR contract expires. Lumley will be hoping to establish himself as the club's No 1 keeper.

The Teessiders have at least confirmed that Joe Lumley will join the club from QPR when his contract expires at Rangers in July.

Following the recent departures, we’ve put together Boro’s strongest starting XI and subs bench as things stand.

After missing the end of last season with an ankle injury, the 24-year-old Dutchman will be hoping to build on his impressive 2020/21 campaign following a strong pre-season.
A commanding centre-back who looks set to play a key part next season. Hall was unfortunate with injuries during the first half of the 2020/21 season but performed well during the second half of the campaign.
Warnock believes Fry is the best centre-back in the Championship. The 23-year-old was forming a fine partnership with Hall before suffering an injury setback in April.
Boro's most improved player last season. The 23-year-old was a solid option at left-back and kept his place after breaking into the side in October.
Howson was Boro's No 1 option in the holding midfield role during the 2020/21 campaign and was made club captain in February. Several managers have praised the midfielder’s influence and professionalism.
It was a fine first season at Boro for the Egyptian international following his move from Wigan. The former Latics captain helps break up play in midfield and also showed his eye for a pass.
It'll be interesting to see where Warnock plays the Northern Ireland international next season. If Hall and Fry are available and Boro play with a back four, McNair may be moved into midfield where he provides energy and drive both in and out of possession.
Another player who missed the end of the 2020/21 season through injury. Tavernier may be better suited to a central position but has also shown he can be a threat out wide. He'll certainly be a key player under Warnock.
A relentless worker who can play across the front line. Watmore finished as Boro's top scorer with nine goals last season despite only signing for the club in November.
After Warnock said he wanted to sign three new strikers, it seems highly unlikely Akpom will be leading the line for Boro at the start of the 2021/22 season. Even so, as it stands, he's the only recognised striker at the club.
The 20-year-old is highly rated at Rockliffe but may be suited to a loan move with Boro looking to bring in another back-up keeper. Dejan Stojanovic is still contracted to the club, yet his future remains unclear.
Boro face a dilemma with the 18-year-old centre-back who was recently loaned out to Crewe but wasn't always a regular starter. Another loan move would probably be beneficial.
After arriving in January from Preston, the 26-year-old right-back made an decent start to his Boro career before an injury issue caused him to miss the end of the season.
Another player who faces an uncertain future and has been linked with a move away.
After breaking into the first team during the 2019/20 season, Coulson hasn't been able to nail down a regular starting place under Warnock. The 22-year-old has been praised for his attitude, yet it's still unclear where he can fit into the team.
The Northern Ireland international was a regular starter at the beginning of the 2020/21 campaign and performed well in a box-to-box midfield role. His performances dipped in the second half of the season but he'll still have a part to play next term.
Following his loan spell at Rotherham, the midfielder will be hoping to force his way back into the first team at the Riverside.