Doesn’t really seem a big deal if you’re not a Middlesbrough fan, what’s a single change in midfield going to do?
Well the partnership of Adam Clayton and Grant Leadbitter is one of the most crucial partnerships in the league, and have been vital to the rise of Middlesbrough as a promotion candidate.
Likened to the famed Arsenal partnership of Viera and Petit, the industrious job they do in midfield is often underrated and crucial to winning games.
They have dominated nearly every midfield in the Championship and are often the first names down on the team sheet for Karanka.
So what’s the problem you may ask? Many Middlesbrough fans including myself feel it is a wholly defensive partnership full of backward and sideway passes.
When Middlesbrough are trailing in a game is this pair really designed to turn it around? Or are they solely designed to protect the defence and a lead?
It is well known that when Middlesbrough went behind last season they only ever turned it around once, but when they went in front they only ever once went on to lose.
Leadbitter’s goal glut last season may of disillusioned fans into thinking he was a more attacking player but this season he has been unable to gain the same goalscoring form.
Fans criticised the partnership in the home defeat to Bristol City and their stalemate against Fulham, where they didn’t see the virtue of two defensive midfielders, when a goal is needed. But they are incredibly important when Middlesbrough go in front so does a change really need to be made?
Personally I think Karanka should at least give Forshaw a go alongside Clayton. He’s man of the match whenever he plays and is a more attacking option in the middle of the park.
Known for his assists which won him League One player of the year before his dismal Wigan career.
His injury means Karanka has had to draft in Bruno Zucilini from Manchester City who looked keen and bright against Charlton when Leadbitter was rested, suggesting Karanka may be willing to break the partnership up and experiment with one attacking midfielder and one holding midfielder.
But Leadbitter and Clayton are incredibly valuable to the team and it’s very harsh to bench one of them.
What do you think Middlesbrough fans? Should Forshaw and Zuculini get a chance in midfield? Or is it unfair to break up such an invaluable partnership? Which one would you drop ? Leave thoughts and opinions below!