Middlesbrough’s turnaround since Michael Carrick has been down to a multitude of factors, with the vast majority of the squad playing a role in the upturn.
One man who has been practically ever-present in Middlesbrough’s rise is versatile veteran Jonny Howson. He’s played a part in every single Championship game this season and has started all but one under Carrick.
The 34-year-old has been a mainstay since his arrival in 2017, notching up a hefty 268 appearances for Boro. The former Leeds United and Norwich City favourite is still a key player at this level too, holding onto his starting spot despite strong competition.
Doubt surrounds his future at the club though as he approaches the end of his deal, but Boro need to hold onto him…
A deserved extension…
At Howson’s age, many players will have retirement on their mind. Given the standard he’s been playing at under Carrick though, the midfielder has shown he can go for longer yet and can remain a key part of taking the club forward under the former Manchester United and England midfielder.
His leadership and experience is of great value on and off the pitch and retaining his services could have many benefits. Hayden Hackney’s emergence has been one of the highlights of this season and having a stalwart like Howson next to him in the middle has certainly aided his development and maturity.
As a result of the strong partnership they’ve formed, Dan Barlaser has only been limited to four appearances since his winter arrival. At Howson’s age though, Carrick could have one eye on phasing Barlaser into the starting XI and maintaining the veteran midfielder’s services could aid the January signing’s own development and transition into the side.
Holding onto Howson ensures Boro maintain the services of someone who is still a Championship-level performer, and a player who could be influential in bringing through the next era of the club’s midfielders.
His contributions over the course of his Middlesbrough career have earned this show of faith, though it remains to be seen just what decision Howson comes to himself. His future is firmly in his own hands, but Boro should definitely do what they can to hold onto him.