Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate feels that there is more to come from some of the young players who started in the Carabao Cup penalty shoot-out defeat to Crewe on Tuesday.
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Teesside Live reported quotes from Woodgate saying that Anfernee Dijksteel, Marc Bola, Marcus Browne and Ste Walker could all have a big part to play this season, although he felt that the first three did not perform very impressively against Crewe.
The manager said: “Just because they didn’t play great doesn’t mean they’re out of the picture. They’re going to be good players for the club. One bad performance doesn’t mean they’re going to be bad for the rest of the season.” [via Teesside Live]
Speaking about Walker, who was substituted at half-time, Woodgate said: “He will play for this football club. He will be a big talent and was unlucky. I said to him ‘Don’t take it to heart son, you know what I think of you’.” [via Teesside Live]
Right-back Dijksteel was partly culpable for Crewe’s second goal on the stroke of half-time when he turned his back on the ball, as noted by Joe Nicholson of the Hartlepool Mail.
Bola’s late burst through a cluster of Crewe players gave him the chance to score the stoppage time equaliser that took the game to penalties but the left-back was guilty of some erratic passing and, as highlighted by Nicholson in the Hartlepool Mail, he wasted a plethora of crosses.
Crewe manager David Artell was highly complimentary of Browne’s performance on Tuesday, telling Teesside Live that he was “terrific all night“, but the winger’s night ended on a sour note as it was his unsuccessful penalty in the shoot-out that confirmed Middlesbrough’s exit from the competition.
Walker was only given 45 minutes to make his mark and, although Woodgate described the teenage striker’s withdrawal as “a decision I needed to make“, the manager admitted that the youngster was “unlucky” to be substituted for Britt Assombalonga at the interval.
Those four players were all making their first starts for Middlesbrough on Tuesday and all have ample time in their careers to make an impact at the Riverside Stadium yet – Dijksteel is 22, Bola and Browne are 21 and Walker is still just 18.
However, none of the four seized their chance to impress Woodgate on Tuesday and stake a claim for regular first team action, and with ‘Boro exiting the Carabao Cup and winning just one point from their first two Championship games, the need for results could see the manager revert to a more experienced starting XI for Saturday’s trip to Blackburn Rovers.
Middlesbrough fans, how did you think the youngsters performed on their full debuts on Tuesday and will they feature much this season? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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