Middlesbrough have hit a slump in form in recent weeks. Their dominant early-season displays have petered out and they have slipped down the table to fourth place.
This is certainly not saying that they are playing badly, but they have only managed to pick up two victories in the league since the first international break.
Since that break, striker Jordan Hugill has seen more action, but has also been a scapegoat for many of the team’s poor performances. The man on loan from West Ham has been heavily criticised by fans and been targeted as one of the reasons The Boro have fallen down the table.
However, there is another player that has not performed the way he should have and that is Martin Braithwaite. The Danish international was heavily linked with a move away from The Riverside at the end of August and has never looked the same since. Alongside Britt Assombalonga, Braithwaite made a scintillating start to the season, scoring three goals in four Championship outings. However, he has not found the back of the net since the transfer saga.
Perhaps his heart is no longer in it. This happens when a player wants a move away from a club, only for his dreams to be quashed. Furthermore, his relationship with manager Tony Pulis would have become fractured, and the Welshman does not suffer fools gladly, shown by his frosty relationship with players in the past.
Braithwaite may not only cost Middlesbrough with his performances on the pitch, but may create a bad environment behind the scenes, something that must be stopped.