In the first few months of the season it looked very unlikely that Boro would get anywhere near the top six, and therefore Chris Wilder still carries a lot of goodwill and momentum into 2022/23.
Boro are certainly light in midfield, and were all season, in terms of depth and therefore that will be an area of priority in looking to assemble a squad capable of pushing for promotion next term.
This season Wilder went with a midfield three, with Jonny Howson taking on the most defensive responsibilities, still yet to sign a deal for next season, with two box-to-box midfielders with greater attacking licence in Marcus Tavernier and Matt Crooks alongside him.
A double pivot may be considered going into next season, and a replacement for Tavernier could be required with the 23-year-old gaining admirers over the course of the campaign.
We brought you the exclusive earlier this week that a trio of Premier League clubs are interested in his services.
Quiz: Which club did Middlesbrough sign these 24 players from in the 2000s?
One player that could add variety to Wilder’s options and replace Tavernier’s influence is Todd Cantwell.
The 24-year-old spent the second half of the season on loan at Bournemouth from Norwich City, it remains to be seen if the Cherries will exercise the option to buy in the deal, however the versatile midfielder failed to nail down a starting berth under Scott Parker, suggesting a permanent move is unlikely.
Cantwell’s price tag will be reduced as he enters the final year of his contract at Carrow Road next term, and it does seem like the player has a desire to leave the club for a new challenge.
Cantwell chipped in with 14 goal involvements as the Canaries won the Championship title at a canter in 2021/22 and he would be a very intriguing pick-up in the summer window.
The former England U21 international is yet to settle into a specialist position, and with a pre-season under his belt in a sophisticated role in Wilder’s system, Cantwell could showcase the ability that he has only shown in patches for the last few seasons, on a more regular basis.