Neil Warnock drops contract hint as Middlesbrough boss discusses futures of Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Marvin Johnson
Neil Warnock has hinted Nathaniel Mendez-Laing could be offered a new contract at Middlesbrough.
The 29-year-old joined Boro on a short-term deal in January and made nine appearances for the Teessiders, scoring once in a 3-0 win over Stoke.
Mendez-Laing has been sidelined with a thigh injury in recent weeks and is unlikely to feature against Luton or Wycombe in the final two games of the season.
Warnock knows the wideman well after signing the player at Cardiff, where Mendez-Laing was a key member of The Bluebirds’ 2018 Championship promotion-winning side.
When asked about the chances of Mendez-Laing being offered a new deal at Boro, Warnock replied: “I think he is fortunate in the fact that I know him.
“We’ve seen glimpses of him, but you’ve not seen his best here at Middlesbrough so far.
“He’s got to get games under his belt and have a good pre-season.
“I think a lot will depend on what he sees for himself next season, not just what we see.
“We’ll have to play that by ear.”
Marvin Johnson and goalkeeper Jordan Archer will also be out of contract at Boro this summer, while Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher are no longer training with the club as their deals run down.
Johnson signed a one-year extension at the Riverside last summer and has made 40 Championship appearances this term – yet only 20 of those have been starts.
Warnock has repeatedly praised the 30-year-old’s attitude in training, despite leaving Johnson on the bench.
On Boro’s contract situation, Warnock added: "Three or four weeks ago, when I spoke to Britt and Ashley, I said to the rest of the lads that I wouldn’t be talking to anyone until after the last game now.
"I just said, ‘Let’s get on with the season now – if I pick you great, if I don’t it’s not because I’m not picking you for a certain reason. Let’s just get on with it’.
"That’s what they’ve done to be fair. I’ll be sitting down with two or three of them after the last game and having a chat.”