Neil Warnock praises teenage star Josh Coburn and admits the Middlesbrough striker has a 'good future' ahead of him
Neil Warnock is predicting big things for Middlesbrough’s talented young forward Josh Coburn.
The 18-year-old came off the bench to grab Boro’s second of the afternoon in a much-needed win over Peterborough United at the Riverside last weekend and the Boro boss believes he has a bright future ahead of him.
Boro get set to welcome Barnsley to Teesside tonight as they look to secure back-to-back wins for the first time this season and Warnock was more than complimentary of the teenager when asked whether he would be involved after Saturday’s profitable cameo.
“Josh is good enough to always be involved,” said Warnock.
“He’s always in my thoughts. He’s just had so many problems this year, bless him.
“He struggled in pre-season health wise. He came back from an injury then he had COVID and he didn’t really recover from the COVID.
“It wasn’t long-term but it wasn’t two weeks and back to normal, so it’s been a hard slog for him.
"I was really pleased for him,” he added.
"I asked if his mum and dad came, can you imagine how proud the parents were? Quite rightly so. He’s a lovely lad. He’s got a good future ahead of him so he’s going to be a good asset in the squad.”
Coburn scored deep into stoppage time with a finely taken first-time effort from Martin Payero’s pullback to sink the Posh and grab his second goal for the club at first team level.
But this one was extra special for Coburn as he was able to celebrate it with the Boro fans and his family inside the Riverside after his inaugural goal against Sheffield Wednesday six months ago came behind closed doors.
It came as a welcome boost for Warnock whose side have struggled in front of goal at times this season having drawn a blank in four of their 12 league games.
While the saying is often ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough,’ Coburn’s record as a youth on Teesside is encouraging.
As part of the U18 squad last season Coburn netted 11 times in 15 appearances while also scoring once across his three U23’s appearances.
Coburn has continued that form into this season’s Premier League 2 campaign with two goals in his three outings as he has been fast-tracked onto the fringes of Warnock’s first team including a start in the League Cup defeat to Blackpool.
But it’s not just Coburn’s goal scoring attributes which have grabbed Warnock’s attention.
Having trained with the first team in recent weeks the Boro boss has been impressed with the youngster’s transformation aesthetically, admitting he can mix it with some of Boro’s more experienced defenders.
“He’s been training the last three or four weeks with us and he’s improved,” said Warnock.
“I said to him when I went onto the pitch after the game, he looks so much stronger now and that’s with working on his body as well, not just the football side.
“He’s a handful. Some of our big, heavy lads try to intimidate him and it doesn't bother him. I love that as a kid.
“He’s 18-years-old and he’ll give as much as he takes and I like that in a striker. I think he’s got a good future.”