Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate has promised to give youth a chance next season, and has even mentioned he would look to promote from within before dipping into the transfer market.
This will give several young prospects a real hope of breaking through at Middlesbrough. Here are five players that stand a chance.
1. Connor Malley – Central midfielder
Malley travelled with Middlesbrough for the final few games of last season as the “19th man” of the matchday squad, and could be one of the first in line to make the step up to the senior side.
Described by club-captain George Friend as a midfielder that ‘glides around the pitch and has an eye for goal’, he could be a driving force from the centre of the pitch that Boro need.
2. Djed Spence – Full-back
Being able to play at both right-back and left-back will certainly stand Spence in good stead. Having arrived from Fulham in 2018, he has gone on to be a main fixture in the youth set up and has made two appearances for the first team in the EFL Cup.
Ryan Shotton and George Friend are the only two full-backs in the side at present, and Spence could be a vital back up option without having to spend money.
3. Stephen Wearne – Attacking-midfielder
Singled out for praise by Woodgate this week, Wearne could be in the fold to play first team football for Boro next season. The Head Coach spoke out about needing a number 10 recently, and if Wearne is ready and good enough he will be in the team.
4. Nathan Wood – Central defender
With the success of academy product Dael Fry in the past few seasons, Nathan Wood could be the next Boro-born central defender to make the step up.
Last season he became the youngest ever player in the club’s history when he made his debut in the Carabao Cup, and he is very highly thought of on Teesside.