Neil Warnock has hinted that Nathaniel Mendez-Laing will be at Middlesbrough next season despite his contract expiring this summer.
Mendez-Laing reunited with Warnock and signed for Boro in January, after he was released by Cardiff City before the start of the season due to off-field reasons.
The winger put pen to paper on a deal until the end of the season, and has since featured nine times for Boro in the Championship.
Only two of those nine appearances have come as starts, though, with the 29-year-old scoring one goal and registering one assist.
But whilst admitting that Mendez-Laing is likely to miss Boro’s final two games of the season through injury, Warnock has dropped a massive hint regarding the player’s future at the Riverside, insisting that the best is yet to come from him.
He said to the Northern Echo: “I think he’s fortunate in the fact that I know him,” said the Boro boss. “We’ve seen glimpses of him, but you’ve not seen his best here at Middlesbrough so far.
“He’s got to get games under his belt and have a good pre-season. I think a lot will depend on what he sees for himself next season, not just what we see, and we’ll have to play that by ear.
“For now, he’s getting better, but it’s touch and go whether he’ll be fit enough to return and his contract is obviously up as well. From his point of view, he has to get himself right for pre-season, so I can’t expect him to come back for one game if he’s not quite right.”
Mendez-Laing helped Warnock win promotion with Cardiff in 2017/18, scoring six goals and registering six assists as the Bluebirds won promotion to the Premier League.
I think this would be a positive move.
We all know how good Mendez-Laing can be in the Championship, particularly under Warnock, and with a full pre-season under his belt, he may be able to rediscover that form.
He has had it quite tough in the last year and has made some mistakes off the pitch, but everyone deserves a second chance and he could be given one.
Warnock isn’t the shiest of managers, and it looks very much like Mendez-Laing will be staying around next season at the Riverside.