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‘Shades of prime Pirlo’ – Many Middlesbrough fans react to promising debut v Rotherham United

Middlesbrough triumphed 2-1 over Championship strugglers Rotherham United on Wednesday evening.

Angus MacDonald grabbed the opener for Rotherham United inside three minutes, Matt Crooks was shown a red card soon after and Middlesbrough fought their way back into the game and scored a goal either side of the break.

George Saville grabbed the equaliser, smashing the ball past Viktor Johansson in the 33rd minute, before Chuba Akpom grabbed the winner ten minutes after half-time.

Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images Sport

Crooks’ dismissal was for an elbow on centre-back Grant Hall. The centre-back was then withdrawn because of the new concussion protocol. He was replaced by midfielder Connor Malley, who was given his Boro debut on the day.

The 21-year-old impressed. He was awarded the Sky Sports Man of the Match award and his performance generated a huge response online with many Middlesbrough fans praising him.

This Boro fan believes Malley will be given more opportunities in the side next season. There is a lot of competition for places in the centre of the park with the likes of Jonny Howson, Sam Morsy, George Saville and Marcus Tavernier vying for a starting berth.

Manager Neil Warnock had previously stated that he hopes to give players on the peripheries of the squad a chance between now and the end of the season. On Wednesday the veteran boss named just six substitutes out of a possible nine, with all of outfield players on the bench having not played a single minute for the club.

Along with Malley, young striker Josh Coburn was given his debut. Plenty has been made of the 18-year-old who has been outstanding for the youth team so far this campaign and will likely be given another opportunity in the first-team’s next three fixtures.

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