Middlesbrough Head Coach Jonathan Woodgate has confirmed goalkeeper Ainsley Pears will continue his development out on loan next season.

Speaking to Middlesbrough’s official website, Woodgate spoke highly of the young Pears, but feels he would be better to gain more experience out on loan rather than being an understudy to Darren Randolph and new signing Tomas Mejias.

In the interview, the new Boro boss said:

“It was important to get Tommy [Tomas Mejias] in because I needed a number two. It’s also important that Aynsley Pears goes out and plays games.

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“It’s no good him sitting on the bench, he needs to go play football, so we’ll look to loan Aynsley out which will be good for him.

“When I spoke to him about it we were on the same page and we spoke with Danny Coyne [Goalkeeping Coach] as well. He’s a talented kid who wants to work had and has been brilliant on this trip, but he needs to play.”

Pears spent last season out on loan at Gateshead in the National League and picked up the club’s Player of the Season Award in the process. At just 21 years old he has a long and hopefully fruitful career ahead of him.

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He is currently away with Middlesbrough in Austria for pre-season. He may play a part in their first friendly which takes place tonight against Austrian second division side Grazer AK.

Although Pears will be sent out on loan, Woodgate will be keeping three other young ‘keepers at the club as back up for Randolph and Mejias.

“Fighting for third spot will be Sol Brynn, Brad James, and Zach Hemming” confirmed the Head Coach.


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Lifelong Boro fan - from the highs of watching Juninho and the Carling Cup victory, to the lows of Gordon Strachan and Lee Dong Gook