2021 has been a real struggle for Middlesbrough’s Marcus Browne, who has been sidelined for the most part with a bad knee injury.
The 23-year-old has been at the Teessiders on a permanent basis since 2019 when he joined from West Ham United, but he’s never really had a run in the first-team under any manager.
Following three early season substitute appearances in the Championship last season, where he scored once and assisted once as well, Browne was looking for an extended period in the side after starting against Wycombe Wanderers on January 2, where he played 71 minutes and scored in a victory for Boro.
But disaster struck in the same week against Brentford in the FA Cup as Browne damaged his knee on the stroke of half time.
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Browne has been out ever since with that length of time now reaching nine months, but Browne’s recovery has taken a step up by returning to training outdoors not too long ago.
He’s not with his team-mates just yet but Browne is hoping that moment comes soon and he’s targeted the late November fixtures following that month’s international break as a comeback point for returning to full training.
“Hopefully, I’m not that far off now. I’m hoping to be back in something like full training by the November international break,” Browne told the Northern Echo.
“Fingers crossed, I can be back training with the lads by then.
“In terms of games and things like that, I think I’d have to train for quite some time before I could really starting thinking about that.
“Maybe I could play a couple of Under-23s games just to make sure everything is fine and I’m ready to go back into the first team and compete at that level. That’s the stage I’m at, at the moment.”
Browne looked like he was finally getting his head down and into Neil Warnock’s plans earlier this year until his cruel turn of fortune.
There’s always been a talent there but Browne has lacked consistency which led to him not getting further chances.
Since Browne’s injury, Boro have strengthened their attacking midfield areas massively, bringing in the likes of Matt Crooks and Onel Hernandez to join Marcus Tavernier.
Because of that it may be hard for Browne to find a way back into the first-team, especially as some players don’t return the same from a catastrophic injury but it will be great to see him finally return when he eventually does.