Neil Warnock challenges Middlesbrough youngster to emulate Chelsea star but says there's still room for improvement
Neil Warnock says there’s no reason why Marcus Tavernier can’t reach the very top if he applies himself in the right way – and challenged the Middlesbrough youngster to emulate Chelsea’s Mason Mount.
Tavernier, 21, has enjoyed his best season to date at Boro, making 36 Championship appearances, and has impressed in recent fixtures against Reading and Cardiff.
The midfielder was deployed out wide for those two matches but has also been played through the middle this campaign.
When asked by the Mail what he thinks Tavernier’s best position is ahead this week’s meeting with Sheffield Wednesday, Warnock replied: “I think he has a few strings to his bow to be honest.
“I looked at Mason Mount and how he’s come on in the 12 months, there’s no reason why Tav can’t do that in the next 12 months.
“If he motivates himself and listens he’s got some great attributes and good habits, and one or two not so good.
“All being well we can put him in the right direction and he’ll become a very good player. Not that he isn’t now but I think he could become even better.”
The comparison to Mount, 21, is certainly a flattering one as the England youngster has become a key player for Chelsea under Frank Lampard this season.
It comes after Mount’s impressive loan spell at Derby in the Championship last term, when the Rams missed out on promotion via the play-offs.
Tavernier’s pace and dribbling ability has been an asset for Boro this season, yet his final ball has been questioned at times.
He was also left on the bench for a game earlier in the season because Jonathan Woodgate wasn’t pleased with the player’s reaction when he was substituted the previous week.
Those are probably the sort of things Warnock is referring to when he says there are things Tavernier needs to improve.
Yet in Boro’s recent fixtures, Tavernier’s deliveries have been far more effective on the flank, with the youngster providing a much-needed spark in the final third.
There’s clearly potential there and Warnock knows it.