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Post-Season Review: Wingers

This series is going to review each of Middlesbrough's remaining squad members based on their performances last season, finishing on a rating out of 10. Before looking to the future as a forecast for what Middlesbrough fans should expect from each player moving forward.

The squad has been split into their different positions including Goalkeeper, Fullback, Centre back, Central Midfield, Wingers and Strikers. Each of which will be covered in a separate article.

This article will cover Winger.


Marcus Tavernier


The youth academy graduate has been flitting in and out of the first team for a number of years to the point in which he could well play his centenary game in the coming season.

This means that it is sometimes hard to remember that he is just 21 years old, particularly since he is showing the football intelligence of someone twice his age and, in turn, getting considerable interest from Premier League clubs.

Up until this season Tavernier got all of his first team experience in wide roles, which is frequently considered to be a good way of weaning inexperienced players into first team football, should they have the attributes for it.

This season, however, he played the majority go his football as a central midfielder and in such a role he had some excellent performances, showing how versatile the dynamic player is.

He is particularly good at combining attacking moves and swiftly moving the team forward through transitions. However he was sometimes suspect defensively as he has a more attacking mentality.

These traits make him a good option for Warnock in central midfield should he wish to play the England Under-20 International there in the future.

Alternatively he could play him where he featured most during the latter stages of the season, on the wing, where he arguably had the best performances of his season and scored a brilliant goal to boot.

He has really good close control dribbling and is able to pick out players on occasion which helps to develop attacking moves in the final third. The only issue with him in this role is that he can be predictable at times as he relishes cutting inside and releasing a shot.

Rating: 7.5/10

His future:

Neil Warnock certainly sees what we all see in the former Milton Keynes loanee and with Patrick Roberts no longer at the club, it opens up the right wing berth to someone else. Tavernier will be hoping that that person is him.

Even if he doesn't become first choice at right wing then he can still compete for a place in central midfield or on the left wing, meaning that he will most probably find himself on the team sheet more often than not.


Marvin Johnson


Marvin Johnson signed from Oxford United for £2.43m in 2017 and has since played just over 50 games for the club.

Early on in the season Johnson played as an inverted winger cutting in from the right flanks and he was a considerable danger while playing the role. However his shooting left something to be desired and his hunger for goals sometimes backfired as he preferred to shoot when better options were on.

He also played a few games at left wingback, where he showed himself to be capable of taking on a defender and delivering decent crosses into the box. However he sometimes failed to influence the game going forward.

Playing as a more offensive wingback limited his exposure to defensive roles, and when he was shifted to left back under Neil Warnock, the fans quickly recognised his fallacies defensively. He was one of the best long range passers during these games however, which was a considerable plus for Warnock as he tried to implement parts of his tactical style late on last season.

After he agreed to a one year extension at the club, Warnock mentioned his improvements during the latter stages of the season and his desire to see how far Johnson can develop.

These improvements were clear to see during this period too as he grew increasingly steady in the more defensively focused role.

He will also want to curb his ill-discipline as he saw red in a few occasions last season.

There is definitely a lot of talent in Johnson and his left foot, but there are some issues there too which Warnock will be hoping to iron out.

Rating: 6/10

His future:

Warnock clearly sees something in Johnson and can't wait to get him on the training ground. Due to that fact he will most likely play at least a rotational role next season.

There is a high chance that Warnock will want the Birmingham-born wide man to reclaim his role as fullback next season as it was during those performances that he established the former Motherwell player had earned a one year contract.

It will be interesting to see how far Johnson develops next season.


Marcus Browne


Another former Oxford United winger and young summer recruit, Marcus Browne signed for the club from West Ham for a measly £200,000 and during preseason it appeared that Boro had dug up a George Friend-like bargain.

The wingers display against St. Etienne, in particular, was impressive as he weaved through their defenders on a number of occasions. The same defenders who had faced the likes of Mbappe and Neymar in the previous season.

However it appears that with many players, the quiet more relaxed atmosphere and game seemed to over inflate his abilities as he was later sent out on loan to Oxford United once more.

There is a talented player there, however perhaps it was too soon a jump for the 22 year old as he spent a dozen or so games treading water as he failed to turn the promise of preseason games into effective moments in competitive matches.

Since he has returned from his loan stint at Oxford United, he has had an interview with the Evening Gazette, in which he makes sounds about him being up for the fight to compete for a place in the team.

He also spoke about attitude and frame of mind saying: "For me its near enough a fresh start, new manager, a clean slate, impress, get my head down, I've come back with a different attitude and I'm going to work hard. I'm in a different frame of mind.

It seems that, by his own admission, he may have suffered last season from a more relaxed frame of mind and a lack of desire to work hard enough to compete in the league. It is possible to speculate why that might have been but the important thing is where he stands now and if his performances on loan at Oxford United are anything to standby then his future may be looking a little rosier.

During his loan stint at Oxford United he played as a winger, central midfielder and striker impressing in each and showing that Middlesbrough have another versatile player on their books. He was also a shining light in a team that managed to get to the play-off final, which is as close as a team can get to the Championship without actually making it.

Hopefully he can bring some of that form to the Boro.

Rating: 5/10

His future:

Oxford United enquired abbot the possibility of making Browne a permanent 'U', and the fact that he is still at the club shows what Boro's answer was, for now.

From the interview on his return to the club, it seems as though Browne is aware of where he stands at the club. He adds a second chance to step up the divisions and into the Boro first team, should he show himself to be worthy of it.

If his new mentality is anything to go by, he stands a decent chance of seizing this opportunity.


Ultimate Decision:

Middlesbrough ate looking for another winger but this shouldn't have a detrimental impact on the prospects of the current Boro wide men as Warnock looks to have two competent players for each position.

For Johnson, the question may well be where he plays over if he plays as he play as a left back during the few games that Warnock was in charge at the end of the season.

Tavernier will most likely play the majority of the games in the upcoming season, either as a winger or central midfielder, as he looks to repeat and improve on his impressive performances last season.

Marcus Browne, on the other hand, is a player who has more questions hanging over his head. However, Boro's decision to wave off a potential transfer to Oxford United signals that he may well have a part to play next season.

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