Neil Warnock explains Djed Spence's substitution after Middlesbrough's win over Stoke City

Neil Warnock says Djed Spence picked up a knock during Middlesbrough’s 3-0 win over Stoke – but doesn’t believe the issue is serious.

By Joe Nicholson
Sunday, 14th March 2021, 12:05 pm

The 20-year-old full-back was recalled to Boro’s starting XI at the Riverside but was replaced by Nathanial Mendez-Laing with eight minutes remaining.

“He just got a kick. It doesn’t seem serious,” said Warnock when asked about Spence after the match.

“He had an ice-pack on after, but it seems okay."

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Middlesbrough defender Djed Spence.

Spence started the match as a right wing-back but his position changed slightly when Boro tweaked their formation midway through the first half.

The Teessiders altered their shape to play with a back four rather than a back three, with Paddy McNair moving into midfield.

And after Stoke winger Jack Clarke found space on the flank in the early stages, Boro’s change of system helped them gain momentum.

“There were a couple of times early doors where he didn’t know what the system was,” added Warnock when discussing Spence.

“He couldn’t have been listening yesterday because he was supposed to be marking the lad who was always alone (Clarke). That’s Djed for you.

“He enjoyed it second half though where he could get further forward. He was instrumental in us keeping possession well. I thought we played some good stuff today.”

Boro will now prepare for another home game against Preston before a trip to Millwall next weekend.

The Teessiders remain eight points off the Championship play-off places with ten games to go following Barnsley’s 3-2 win over Bournemouth.

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