Middlesbrough will have a lot to ponder and work on during the international break under newly appointed manager Chris Wilder.
The former Sheffield United boss will be delighted to have the extra time to work with the players ahead of what will be a full on run of fixtures moving towards the busy Christmas period.
Boro will have their eyes firmly on building a play-off push, such is the reputation of Wilder who took just two seasons in the second tier to get the Blades into the Premier League.
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Neil Warnock has received a lot of praise and respect for the job he did on Teesside, steadying the ship that was involved in the 2019/20 relegation battle before flirting with a top six spot for the 2020/21 campaign and portions of the current one.
Wilder will be hoping to get more out of the squad and the big money signings Boro recruited in the summer.
Matt Crooks on Martin Payero
Matt Crooks has been helping summer signing Martin Payero with the language barrier off the pitch and on it with his combination play.
Warnock had dropped Crooks into a deeper role to accommodate Payero’s attacking talent in the side in recent weeks and the former Rotherham United man is clearly an important figure in integrating the Argentinian into English football.
Payero announced himself to the rest of the division with a standout display in Boro’s 2-0 win at Cardiff City last month and will be looking to kick on with Wilder’s progressive ideas on the training ground.
Crooks believes that the 22-year-old has a ‘big future’ and it’s easy to see why as he gets more comfortable with English football.
Spence picks up award
Djed Spence was sent on loan to Nottingham Forest towards the end of the summer transfer window and has proved a key cog in the Reds’ resurgence under Steve Cooper this term.
Boro have the option to recall the 21-year-old in January and with Wilder famed for deploying a 3-5-2 system the right wing back berth will be waiting for Spence should he return.
Spence won the October Player of the Month Award at the City Ground, further demonstrating that he is good enough to win back his first team spot at the Riverside.
It seems inevitable that the youngster will return to Teesside in a few months time and that will be a big disappointment to Forest fans who have taken to him very well.
Zach Hemming progress
21-year-old glovesman Zach Hemming is making the most of his loan spell in the Scottish second tier at Kilmarnock.
Hemming has kept eight clean sheets in 13 outings and outlined the value of the experience he is getting when he spoke to the Kilmarnock Standard (via TeessideLive).
“It is good getting games, that’s the main thing as a young goalkeeper,” Hemming said.
“I need to get experience, the more you get the better you play.
“But it’s a rough league, as a goalkeeper it’s very physical at the likes of corners, but that will only make me a better goalkeeper.