Marcus Browne has had a horrible run with injuries in the last couple of seasons which has really slowed his progress in a Middlesbrough shirt.
The 23-year-old has a contract at the Riverside that runs until the end of next season and will be desperate to impress new manager Chris Wilder over the international break.
Browne has not played since January of this year and with Wilder looking to address certain areas of the squad in January there is a chance the West Ham United academy graduate could fall further down the pecking order before he is fully fit again.
Browne took to Instagram to post this fairly reassuring message.
View this post on Instagram
Marcus Tavernier would be one of the players that Browne will be in direct competition with when he returns to the first team picture. Boro have been lacking a certain spark in the final third this season but with Wilder typically deploying a 3-5-2 formation there may not be any spots for wingers.
Time is of the essence with his contract not very long term and the January transfer window approaching.
Wilder and Kieran Scott will be assessing the squad carefully in the coming months and if Browne cannot prove his fitness then his chances of breaking back into the first team will thin.
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It is good to see that Browne is looking to maintain a positive mindset in what have been a disappointing couple of seasons. The 23-year-old showed his class for Oxford United in the second half of the 2019/20 campaign and may end up back out on loan at some point between now and the end of his deal on Teesside.
We have seen a lot of players graduate from academies and struggle with the physical demands of senior football in recent years, often falling into non-league before reaching 30. Browne has the talent to establish himself as a dangerous attacking player in the Championship, but we need to see something soon if he is to have a future at Middlesbrough.