Nathan Wood has returned to Middlesbrough after his loan at Hibernian was cut short but is not eligible to play for Chris Wilder’s men until January.
Not a great look for a player with aspirations to break into the first team picture at The Riverside but Wilder has always been a very resourceful manager and if there is a Championship defender in there, the ex-Sheffield United boss will bring it out of him.
Wilder gave an honest assessment of the 19-year-old’s situation when he spoke to TeessideLive.
He explained: “I have to say he has to look at himself a bit as well, why hasn’t he got into that team (at Hibernian)?
“It’s a little bit of both from where I’m sitting. I’ve already had a chat with Nathan and he understands and he will get to understand pretty quickly. This is an important time for Nathan. If he wants to play in the first team he has to take on our ideas. He’s got some enormous assets we’ll try to improve but there’s stuff that needs to be worked on.”
With defensive injuries and some fading talents in Boro’s rearguard action there could be an opportunity for Wood at some point in the campaign.
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It can sometimes be easier to bed in younger players with senior pros around them and in that case a back three system alongside the likes of Sol Bamba, Lee Peltier and Paddy McNair could be a great environment for Wood to acclimatise to the second tier. It is definitely however, a blemish on Wood’s perceived potential that he was not able to play a key role in the Scottish Premiership this term.
Wilder will be casting a rye eye over every member of his squad in planning for the January transfer window, Wood needs to hit his straps on the training ground in order to force his way into the reckoning. Otherwise another loan move could be on the horizon come the turn of the year.