Middlesbrough may turn to their younger players to inspire a climb up the table with Neil Warnock under pressure at the helm going into the international break.
Warnock is not a manager known for integrating young players into his sides and has called upon a 36-year-old Sol Bamba to be the answer to Boro’s problems in recent weeks. But with the Teesside club struggling to click in the final third of late, Toyosi Olusanya and Josh Coburn could be two younger players looking to force their way into the reckoning on the training ground during the break.
Andraz Sporar and Uche Ikpeazu have struggled to nail down a position at the top of the pitch and Duncan Watmore is looking Warnock’s most reliable attacking player. Matt Crooks too was impressive in the opening exchanges of the campaign but has not been as dangerous since Ikpeazu dropped to the bench.
Here, then, we take a look at two of Middlesbrough’s most exciting youngsters, whether a first team chance will come soon and what they would offer to the current squad…
Plucked from Billericay Town this summer Neil Warnock was keen to give Olusanya a second crack at the Football League.
Older and wiser than when he burst onto the scene for AFC Wimbledon the 23-year-old has started on the bench in all of Boro’s last eight matches.
Boro have only picked up eight points in that time scoring just six, so Olusanya will be moving up the pecking order with his ability to play anywhere across a front three.
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Exciting 18-year-old Coburn made four Championship substitute appearances towards the back end of last season and scored his first senior goal in a 3-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday. Such involvement has not been forthcoming this campaign but he earned a start in the League Cup first round and was on the bench in the team’s first five league games coming on once.
The 18-year-old has netted twice in Premier League 2 this season and made his return after a brief injury lay-off in Boro U23’s cup match at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
A successful injury recovery will be the immediate priority but once fully fit Coburn will be pushing to be involved in matchday squads on a regular basis once again.