This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Middlesbrough will have a big decision to make regarding Nathaniel Mendez-Laing this summer.
The winger moved to the Riverside Stadium earlier this year on a short-term deal following his exit from Cardiff City in Autumn 2020.
Since then it’s been a steady start to life on Teesside for the 28-year-old who has made five appearances for the club, making just one start in the process – the 1-1 home draw with the Bluebirds.
If he’s to earn a new contract at the club you’d imagine that Mendez-Laing would need to have a far greater influence between now and the end of the season, but does he have a future at the club?
The team at FLW have their say…
I think it’s a tough call to make.
We all know how good of a player Mendez-Laing can be on his day, but his lack of game time over the last year or so is showing.
He hasn’t been unable to make more than one league start for Boro as of yet, and he will be keen to get more minutes under his belt between now and the end of the season.
With Neil Warnock taking charge next season, a full pre-season could do Mendez-Laing the world of good, and if there is a manager who knows how to get the best out of him, it’s Warnock.
I would see no harm in offering him a new one-year deal so he can have a full season to prove his worth.
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I’d extend it another year.
He hasn’t featured too much yet due to some of the good form from the likes of Neeskens Kebano and Duncan Watmore, but he still has something to offer.
Obviously he’s had a tough time of it over the last season and Warnock offered the winger a second chance, so he should have the opportunity to kick on properly next season in my eyes.
He’s a physical winger who is strong on the ball and has an eye for a cross, and on his day, he can be a real nuisance for opposition defences.
There’s no guarantee he’d be a regular starter next term, but he’s a useful asset to have in the squad.
I think it’s worth them looking to keep him around.
We haven’t really seen the best of him yet at the Riverside but Neil Warnock has helped him thrive in the past.
Warnock is sticking around for the 2021/22 campaign and you feel with a better striker to play off, Mendez-Laing could be a very useful player to have in the squad.
That said, Boro shouldn’t be looking to offer him a big contract and need to be smart. If there is clear value there, get it done.