Middlesbrough on the rise
Middlesbrough has had a pretty rough 2019/20 campaign.
Inexperienced Jonathan Woodgate was eventually fired by the club in June following a 3-0 defeat of Swansea City.
This defeat left Middlesbrough 21- m place in the league, with only eight league games left to play, and the threat of relegation was mounting.
However, Borough decided to replace Woodgate with experienced manager Neil Warnock.
In a very short period of time, as the games began to gain momentum, Warnock was able to bring the Northeast team to 17- e place, having won four victories along the way.
Now in the 2020/21 campaign, after a short preseason and a little more time with his squad, Warnock has turned Middlesbrough into a tight-knit, well-tuned squad that even the best teams in the championship are struggling to break.
Borough began the campaign with the recently departed Watford. They would leave in a 1-0 defeat, although there were clear signs that Boro Warnock was on the rise.
A similar story happened in the next Middlesbrough league match with Warnock and his company. more than just confronting a Bournemouth team looking to get promoted.
Since then, Middlesbrough has scored points against QPR, Bristol City, Reading, Cardiff and Coventry.
It is also worth noting that Middlesbrough are currently the only team to take one point away from the reading of the term, while Borough will also bring Bristol City their first defeat in a championship campaign.
Super Paddy McNair
No player has epitomized the Neil Warnock revival of Middlesbrough more than Paddy McNair.
The former Manchester United star teamed up with Middlesbrough in the summer of 2018.
But despite his cleanliness, McNair had a hard time finding his usual starting point from Borough.
Under the leadership of Tony Pulis and Jonathan Woodgate, the Northern Ireland player has played in a variety of positions, including right-back, center-midfielder, right-center and center-back.
This lack of consistency clearly took its toll on the 25-year-old, who generally looked pretty average for most of his time under the aforementioned bosses.
However, since Warnock took the reins into his own hands, especially this season, McNair has looked like a completely different player.
Despite being a center midfielder by profession, Warnock has largely opted to use McNair as a center-back in his defensive triplets / fives.
McNair excelled in this role, possessing all the key qualities needed to be the best center midfielder in the game today, including a strong aerial presence (experienced last weekend against Cardiff striker Kieffer Moore at 6'4 ''), propelling ability and strong tackling.
McNair's ability to knock excellent balls out of corners, free kicks and deep-of-field has also been incredibly useful for Borough this season, and his assists have helped Boro earn valuable points both against QPR and against Bournemouth.
After such a great start to the campaign, it's no surprise that Middlesbrough fans and pundits are lyrically talking about the midfielder evolving into a defender.
One person who does this weekly is former Middlesbrough and Southampton midfielder Neil Maddison.
Maddison made 55 appearances for the Teessiders between 1997 and 2001 before joining his hometown Darlington club.
Maddison retired with Darlington and has since become a co-commentator for Borough's games on BBC Tees, where he often praises McNair.
101 people were able to speak to the former Southampton resident about McNair, whom Maddison called great:
“Paddy has been great so far. Since playing last season, he has continued to play. He has a pace to burn, and his awareness of what is around him is a major advantage. He's also decent in the air and is a tough guy.
"His best position for me is in the back, I know he is a midfielder / striker, but since he was there he has been quality, so why change him."
Maddison was also quick to pay tribute to Neil Warnock not only for McNair, but for the recent rise in form of other Borough players:
“Neil Warnock is all about men and how to make you feel untouchable. I think this is his best feature and you can see the difference in the way some players play, Dijksteel is an example. "
Finally, when Middlesbrough climbed to 7th place after beating Coventry, Maddison suggested that if Borough got lucky with his injuries, they might surprise some of the promoters this season:
“I think that if we are in the playoffs in January, then I can see that he [Warnock] wants proceed the game .
“The team is small, but we have some of the best pros with some nice young guys. Stay away from injury and we may surprise some. "
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