Speaking to Sky Sports, Middlesbrough midfielder George Saville jumped to the defence of Burnley goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell after his costly mistake on international duty.

Saville and Peacock-Farrell were plying their trade for Northern Ireland recently. Both players featured as the Green and White Army took on Italy on Thursday evening.

Italy won the game 2-0, with both goals coming inside the first 45 minutes. Domenico Berardi opened the scoring with a fierce lofted effort into the roof of the net from close range, whereas Ciro Immobile doubled their lead with a left footed strike past Peacock-Farrell.

The Burnley shot stopper was beaten twice at his near post and he has come under fire for his positioning by several fans online.

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Speaking in between their defeat to Italy and their upcoming friendly against the USA, Middlesbrough midfielder George Saville defended the former Leeds United ‘keeper.

“He’s a great lad, he’ll take responsibility when he needs to take it,” he said.

“He’s not hiding.

“But he’s been fantastic for us ever since he’s came in. Criticism is a normality now in football. With every player now, if you miss a chance or do something – with the power of social media as well – people can get on you.

“It’s the way it is. You’ve got to be thick-boned as a footballer and crack on. But Bailey has been fantastic and we’re all happy with him.”

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The 24-year-old goalkeeper spent his youth team years at Middlesbrough between 2006 and 2013 before moving to Leeds United. He was given his debut at Elland Road in 2016, coming on for the red carded Marco Silvestri.

However, he didn’t play for the Whites for another two years, but quickly became the club’s number one upon his return to the first-team. He signed for Premier League side Burnley in 2019 on a four-year contract for a fee believed to be in the region of £2.5 million.

He has spent the majority of his Clarets career as a substitute, playing second fiddle to England international Nick Pope. Although he did make his top flight debut in November last year, as his side lost 5-0 to Manchester City at the Etihad.