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Middlesbrough youngster joins League Two side on season-long loan

Middlesbrough forward Stephen Walker has joined League Two Tranmere Rovers on a season-long loan, the Championship club have confirmed.

Middlesbrough have allowed the youngster to depart on his fifth loan spell away from the Riverside. In previous seasons he has plied his trade for MK Dons and Crewe Alexandra across two separate spells each, before his recent move to Tranmere.

The 20-year-old has played nine times for the Middlesbrough first-team and was given a run of games under previous boss Jonathan Woodgate. He is yet to feature under new manager Neil Warnock.

He is highly rated at the North-East club and is being shipped out on loan in order to gain vital playing time and regular minutes.

Given Middlesbrough’s lack of options up front, could they not use him?

Middlesbrough have just one senior striker at their disposal at present. Following the departure of Chuba Akpom back to former club PAOK, Uche Ikpeazu is the only number nine. The likes of Matt Crooks and Duncan Watmore can play there but Warnock wants natural strikers.

One such natural striker is Stephen Walker, but rather than putting him in at the deep end, the Boro boss would rather buy or loan a new player with more experience before the transfer deadline, and loan out Walker to a lower league club to gain such experience.

Where will he fit in at Tranmere?

The Super White Army aren’t short of options in forward areas and Walker will have plenty of competition.

Emmanuel Dieseruvwe, Nicky Maynard, Elliott Nevitt, as well as Liverpool loanee Paul Glatzel and youngsters Charlie Jolley and Jake Burton are all competing for places.

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