Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate has suggested that Harold Moukoudi has the potential to develop into a player capable of performing in the Premier League, following his impact since coming into the side.
Moukoudi arrived at the Riverside on loan until the end of the season from AS Saint-Etienne in January, and the defender has already begun to establish himself as a key part of Boro’s defence over the last few weeks, starting in Middlesbrough’s last three Championship matches.
The 22-year-old is likely going to be a key performer for Middlesbrough throughout the rest of the season, as Woodgate looks to guide the look to safety in the Championship, and get Boro back on track following a run of seven league games without a win.
QUIZ: Can you name these 15 Middlesbrough players by looking at their previous clubs?
Speaking to the Hartlepool Mail ahead of Middlesbrough’s trip to relegation threatened Barnsley on Saturday, Woodgate insisted that he believes that while Moukoudi does have a lot of developing to do he has the potential ability to play in the Premier League.
He said: “He’s a young lad but he has plenty of ability. He can go and play in the Premier League.”
Woodgate knows all about what it takes to perform at the highest level of the game as a defender, with the Middlesbrough manager having enjoyed spells in the Premier League with the likes of Boro, Newcastle United, Leeds United and Tottenham Hotspur, as well as spending time at Spanish giants Real Madrid.
That suggests that Woodgate is an ideal manager to really nurture and develop a player with Moukoudi’s ability during the rest of his loan spell at the Riverside, and the defender has already started to show signs of the quality he possess during his first few matches for the club.
The 22-year-old will be needing to learn from some of the mistakes that can creep into an inexperienced players’ performances, and the defender will be really tested during the rest of the campaign, as he looks to help Middlesbrough maintain their Championship status.
It will then be interesting to see what happens with the defender’s future in the summer, with Moukoudi potentially able to attract the interest from other clubs if he were to deliver some strong performances for Boro in the last few games of the campaign, but Woodgate is certainly right to believe in the quality he possesses.