Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate has made a bold claim regarding on-loan centre-back Harold Moukoudi, suggesting he is a ‘Premier League player in the making’.
Thanks to a string of first-team injuries and a switch to a three-at-the-back formation, Woodgate has been left light in the defensive department. The January transfer window allowed him to rectify this and Boro moved to confirm the loan signing of 22-year-old St. Etienne centre-back Harold Moukoudi.
The Cameroon international was brought in to cover the gaps left by injuries to the likes of Dani Ayala and has done so quite impressively in his first three appearances.
The centre-back is yet to keep a clean sheet for Middlesbrough, featuring in defeats to Brentford and Luton Town either side of a 2-2 draw away to Wigan Athletic.
In the process, Moukoudi has been present for Boro conceding six league goals in three games, but Woodgate was keen to heap praise on the Cameroon international.
Speaking before the Wigan draw to the Gazette, Woodgate drew a bold conclusion about the centre-back and where his destiny lies in the future. He stated: “I thought he was very good (at Brentford).
“He’s a Premier League player in the making in my view.
“And that’s from me only seeing him in a few training sessions and in the game. He’s got all the attributes to play in the Premier League in my opinion.”
While Boro have slipped into the relegation scrap again, Moukoudi has shown his qualities as an individual. It’s hard for a defender to shine when you’re shipping goals each week but he must be doing something right to warrant this praise.
The question was put to these Middlesbrough fans in a Middlesbrough fan Facebook page on how they perceive Moukoudi’s start to life on Teesside and whether Woodgate’s claims line up with that…
Do you believe Moukoudi is Premier League quality – as per Woodgate?
Stuart Bell “Not yet.”
Lee Banks “He said he would be…”
Can you name these Boro players based on their previous clubs?
Simon Carter “As a ball boy maybe?”
Craig Hatton “Not so far …give him time.”
Malcolm Feetham “The lad has got some talent, the vision and the ball to Howson for the disallowed goal was class. I think he was trying to hard to make a good impression in his first home game which was the reason he was over hitting the ball in his passes, but his tackling abilities are class. I say sign him up on a permanent deal.”
Michael Haines “Malcolm Feetham: I agree, he looks so much more composed on the ball than our other CBs. Got good positioning sense as well.”
Peter Cramer “A lot of them are, just not in a boro side.”
John Mach “He is quality. Going to be a big player for us with Ayala. With the right manager next season, we should be challenging at the top.”
“If we can keep hold of Roberts that will also help us massively.”
Trevor Harrison “No, he is not very good in my opinion.”
Eddy Hebbron “3 games in 7 days and we’re all questioning him.”
Kenneth Husband “Time, that’s what new players need.”
David Crosby “Give him till at least the end of his first month or preferably until the end of the season before slagging him off.”
Jean Watts “We haven’t seen enough of him to make that assumption.”