Middlesbrough Boss Full Of Praise For Star Midfielder

Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick has praised how humble his star midfielder Hayden Hackney is, despite interest from numerous Premier League clubs.

The academy graduate has started 21 games for the Teesiders this season but hasn’t appeared since the Valentine’s Day defeat against Preston North End, where he picked up a knee injury. The North-East side appear to be doing well in his absence, however, winning four of their last seven games.

The 21-year-old has scored twice this season, including the winner against giants Chelsea in the Carabao Cup semi final first leg. He is currently under contract at the Riverside Stadium until 2027.

Carrick has praised the high quality of the club’s academy following Hackney winning the North East Football Writers’ Young Player of the Year award for his performances in 2023 when he appeared 34 times, scoring three goals and getting four assists along the way.

“It’s fabulous news and fully deserved for Hayden to get the reward,” said a proud Carrick, talking to Teesside Live.

“It’s a boost and a reward for the academy and the club as a whole really, to have a player of the calibre of Hayden come through the system after being here so long.

“It’s the ideal scenario and it’s not easy to get to that when so many players are in the system. You couldn’t ask for much more from Hayden. He’s grounded, he’s humble, he’s down to earth and loves to learn.

“He loves the place and he loves the club as well. So to have that, added with the talent he has got, it’s the perfect scenario. I think it just shows his consistency really, over a long period of time. It’s not easy when you’re a younger player, but he’s certainly done that. I know he’s had a couple of injury concerns over the past couple of months or so, but his performances over a long period of time have justified the award.

“I think that (character) is a massive part of it. There is a level of talent out there in and around football and sometimes it might not be that different player to player.”

Boro continue their Championship campaign this weekend with a double-header against promotion-chasers Southampton and relegation-threatened Sheffield Wednesday. They still have a chance of the play-offs, although the gap is seven points.

Writer’s View

It’s not what fans of Carrick’s side will want to hear but Hackney is destined for the big league. Boro have a chance of the play-offs but even if they are not in the Premier League next season, Hackney will be.

That being said the Teessiders do have a bright future with the ex-Manchester United midfielder at the helm and as he alluded to, the academy is in great shape. At a time of uncertainty at a lot of football clubs, Middlesbrough have a solid setup.


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