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Opinion: Why Adam Clayton is the key to Middlesbrough’s success – Agreed?

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Middlesbrough midfielder Adam Clayton was rewarded for a fine season so far with the December Player of the Month at the start of the year.

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The award, which coincided with manager Aitor Karanka making it an award-winning double for the Teessiders, was the least that the Manchester-born man deserved after a terrific 18 months with the club.

The 27-year-old, who joined from Huddersfield in the summer of 2014, has formed a terrific partnership with fellow holding midfielder Grant Leadbitter and performs key defensive and attacking duties every game for Karanka’s side.

However, he does not get the credit that he deserves at times because of the defensive strengths of Daniel Ayala and Ben Gibson and the attacking flair of Stewart Downing and Albert Adomah.

His influence on the pitch is best defined by his passing statistics. Clayton has completed 1,404 passes in 26 Championship games – more than anyone else in the division – with an accuracy of 87%.

Boro’s holding midfielders have often been criticised for passing backwards and sideways but 77% of Clayton’s passes are aimed towards the oppositions goal, showing how important he is in their final third.

He also performs important defensive duties. So far this season, the former Leeds man has made 72 interceptions which is the 14th best in the whole division but only two midfielders have bettered this number, Reading’s Oliver Norwood with 89 and Ipswich’s Cole Skuse with 76.

Middlesbrough’s squad is full of quality players but Clayton is the key to his side playing well.

When he performs, and he more often than not does, the whole team clicks and is very much the reason behind his side being top of the Championship and everyone’s favourites to secure promotion to the Premier League.

He is one of three Boro players to appear in every one their Championship games this season and his influence on the team is significant but it does, at times, go a little unnoticed.

He breaks up play expertly and is often found starting Boro attacks, looking for the likes of Stewart Downing and Diego Fabbrini who have the ability to pull open a defence with a pass.

With Boro looking good value for money for promotion this season, Clayton looks like he will get his long overdue opportunity to shine in the top flight, but the club will be hoping that he gets the chance to impress with them, controlling the game and dictating the level of Boro’s performance.

Middlesbrough fans…Do you agree? Is Clayton the key to Boro’s side? Does he get the credit he deserves or do others come in for praise before him? Let us know what you think in the comments below!


ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Why Adam Clayton is the key to Middlesbrough’s success – Agreed?

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