Talking Middlesbrough with… Young Rebel Set
- By Football Burp
You must be pleased with the side’s recent form. Do you think you can make the playoffs?
That’s the dream! Tony Mowbray had to go when he did, and Aitor Karanka seems to be getting the best out of players that Mowbray didn’t get on with.
Dean Whitehead is back in the team, József Varga was an outcast and now he’s like a new player at right-back, and then there’s the Chelsea connection: we’ve just taken Kenneth Omeruo on loan from them – he’s the best centre-back that no one’s ever seen! – as well as being linked with Michael Essien.
So you’re pleased with Karanka so far?
So far, so good. He didn’t have the best of starts but now we’re playing completely differently to how we were playing under Mowbray – and we took 10 points over Christmas, which is unheard-of for Boro!
Your Ghanaian winger Albert Adomah has had a good season so far…
Yeah, he’s pushing for a World Cup place. Mustapha Carayol, who plays on the other side, is a similar player.
How are Shay Given and Jonathan Woodgate holding up these days?
Given has been really solid since he came in – we never really replaced Mark Schwarzer, and when Gareth Southgate became manager it left us without a leader at the back, which is why we went down in the first place.
But Given looks so professional, gets everyone going and starts from the back – you’re not nervous when players pass it back to him as you know he’ll be okay with it.
On his debut against Bolton Wanderers, he put off Jermaine Beckford on a penalty – Beckford missed it and we won 1-0.
As for Woodgate, when he plays we get a result, simple as that. He’s too good for the Championship but you can’t keep him fit.
I don’t think he even trains, just gets a phone call the day before the match asking if he can play! Richie Smallwood is worth a mention too, a local lad playing brilliantly.
Do you manage to get to the Riverside much?
Yeah, every home game when we’re off tour and I’m back at home. I went to the Hull City game on Saturday – we didn’t play well but then we were playing a Premier League team that had come off the back of a 6-0 win over Fulham.
The FA Cup’s not a priority for us this year, anyway. Playoffs is the main objective.
Can you remember your first game?
I remember Michael Owen playing and my dad saying “gotta watch out for him”.
How about the best and worst games you’ve ever been to?
The worst was when Steve McClaren wasn’t doing very well and we lost 4-0 at home to Aston Villa – I was right near the dugout to see that fan running onto the pitch and throwing his season ticket at McClaren.
We’d spent loads of money and no one was even trying – Mark Viduka was just walking around the pitch – but it ended up being a turning point as we went on a run after that.
Our chairman Steve Gibson let the season ticket thrower back into the stadium after that, just said “Don’t do it again”!
The best was against Steaua Bucharest when we needed to score five so McClaren put Hasselbaink, Maccarone, Viduka and Yakubu all up front. Stewart Downing’s cross, Maccarone header in the last minute…
Finally, if you had to select a five-a-side team out of all the Boro players you’ve seen in your time as a fan, who would you pick?
Mark Schwarzer, Juninho, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Gareth Southgate and Gaizka Mendieta. I love George Boateng, though.
Luke Evans, thank you.
Young Rebel Set’s new album Crocodile is out now.