It was a night to forget for Middlesbrough U23s as they fell to a 4-1 defeat against Manchester United.
The Red Devils were always going to be the stronger team with several stars who are on the cusp of breaking into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s senior side at Old Trafford.
But it is still disappointing to get beaten by such a comfortable margin.
Middlesbrough named several stars who are vying for a place in Jonathan Woodgate’s first team, and with things not exactly going to plan in the Championship he’s bound to be open to new options for finding a winning formula.
Marcus Browne was one of those players but after suffering an injury against United, it looks like he could be out for several weeks.
However a number of other stars made a case for being involved, with three in particular standing out.
It was a decent performance from the former Blackpool man.
Bola looked confident going forward and did well to contain Man United winger Tahith Chong who has featured on several occasions for the first team.
The 21-year-old’s confidence has been significantly hampered following the 4-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday where he was replaced at half-time, so much so that he hasn’t featured for Jonathan Woodgate’s side in over a month.
However with his confidence recovering it may well be time to give the youngster another crack against Queens Park Rangers.
It’s a different story for the 21-year-old who’s season has been blighted by injury.
After starting the season at full-back, Coulson was ruled out for almost two months before making his comeback against Huddersfield two weeks ago.
He also featured against Fulham but has been lacking match sharpness.
Coulson was deployed in a more advanced role against Manchester United and could be a more offensive option for Jonathan Woodgate’s side as they look to tackle the lack of creativity in their ranks.
The 19-year-old was impressive against Manchester United.
Malley was key to Middlesbrough’s build-up play at the Riverside Stadium and showed some neat touches to move his team forward into the final third.
The midfielder has been an unused substitute on two occasions for Jonathan Woodgate’s side, and perhaps it might be time to give him an opportunity to get on the field and show what he can do.