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Monk must bring back this out-of-favour Middlesbrough player to the starting XI



Middlesbrough’s disappointing run of form was compounded away at Millwall on Saturday as another defensive horror-show saw them lose 2-1 and heaped the pressure on manager Garry Monk.

George Saville sauntered through almost unchallenged to prod home Millwall’s second and was symptomatic of the goals ‘Boro have conceded of late on their travels, resulting from frequent and inexplicable defensive errors.

Monk has not been able to legislate for the frailties which have contributed to run of 3 defeats in 4, including a shambolic 3-0 reverse at home to Derby.

Tinkering with the defence in recent months, the ‘Boro boss now seems to favour a tried and tested partnership in recent weeks, calling time on young centre-half Dael Fry’s run in the first team.

The aforementioned partnership have hardly helped matters and the rumoured City target Ben Gibson along with Championship stalwart Daniel Ayala’s positions in the starting XI may be all the more precarious with summer signing Ryan Shotton back in the first team picture.

Brought in from Birmingham, Shotton may well feel aggrieved to have started just two league games this season, despite being an ever-present in his solitary season at St Andrew’s .

Having performed consistently at this level and in a three-year spell in the Premier League with Stoke, Shotton is more than capable to step in and shake up the ‘Boro back-line which has become painfully complacent under the hegemony of the Ben Gibson, the one constant in the back four in Garry Monk’s side.

On the bench in the defeat at The Den, do not be shocked to see Ryan Shotton at the heart of Middlesbrough’s defence over the busy Christmas period.