Middlesbrough’s George Saville may only have received 9 caps for the Northern Ireland international side, but he has already been tipped to eventually captain his home nation.
After impressing in Millwall’s midfield last season Boro moved into the transfer market to sign Saville on a loan deal which will be made permanent in January. Saville attracted interest from the north east during a season in which his impressive all-round displays were backed up with 10 goals from midfield, but he is yet to cement his place in Tony Pulis’ first-team.
Although he is yet to establish himself as a pivotal cog at Boro he is growing in stature at international level under Michael O’Neil.
Saville was handed his 9th cap on Sunday afternoon as Northern Ireland took on Austria at Windsor Park, but an outstanding individual performance could not inspire his side to victory.
In the aftermath of proceedings, BBC Sport pundit Mark Sterling delivered his verdict on the defeat for Northern Ireland, and he highlighted Saville’s performance as a notable bright spark.
‘He has been earmarked by some Northern Ireland fans as the long-term successor to captain Steven Davis in the Northern Ireland midfield, and that may well prove to be the case for George Saville.
‘But the Middlesbrough man, who was introduced to the team towards the end of the last World Cup qualifying campaign, has already formed a fine axis with the skipper in a three-man engine room with scorer Corry Evans.
‘Saville was superb once again in the middle of the park for O’Neill, closing the Austrians down throughout and even more impressive as a driving force when in possession.’
The Boro fans will be delighted to hear of Saville’s glistening performance on Sunday, and they will be hoping he can emulate that type of showing when their side are back in action against Brenford on Saturday evening.
With the dynamism and direct dribbling ability to penetrate Brentford’s defensive unit there is no doubt that Pulis should be strongly considering including him from the outset, especially on the back of his international showing.
Saville may not yet have wowed the Boro supporters in the manner which many predicted him to following his arrival, but it seems it will only be a matter of time before he rediscovers the form which earned him a move to the club in the summer.
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