By Will Butcher
Football Insider analyses three talking points from Middlesbrough’s 1-0 win over Hull City on Monday night at the Riverside.
Rhodes left out again
A goal machine at both Huddersfield and Blackburn, Jordan Rhodes has suffered a nightmare stay in the North East. This season, Rhodes has started just one Premier League encounter, featuring another three times from the bench. It’s a far cry from his £9million move in the 2016 January transfer window, with Rhodes making just 14 starts for Aitor Karanka’s side since the transfer. With the likes of Alvaro Negredo, Christian Stuani and Viktor Fischer ahead of him in the attacking pecking order, a January move should be considered by Boro’s number nine.
Wing backs are most attacking players
It says a lot about Boro’s lack of goals this season. Antonio Barragan and Fabio starred on either side of Karanka’s defence, with both renowned for their attacking rather than defensive attributes. They both got forward, surged past opponents and delivered a number of enticing balls into the box and remained a threat throughout the 90 minutes. But compare them to the rest of the side, they could arguably be Boro’s two main attacking threats other than playmaker Gaston Ramirez. Bereft of confidence, Alvaro Negredo struggled in the box, while Viktor Fischer is still adapting to the English game.
Gibson deserves an England call-up
Captain of his side at 23, Ben Gibson showed just why he is revelling in many pundit’s praises. Although largely untested at the back, the skipper was on hand and alert to provide an inch-perfect tackle on Adama Diomande as the Norway international powered on through to goal towards the end of the first half. The tackle summed up Gibson’s eye-catching form this season. His combative, almost old-fashioned way of playing football has been so effective that Gareth Southgate, who played similarly to Gibson during his Boro days, should seriously consider Gibson in his next Three Lions squad.
In other Middlesbrough news, this bit-part star could be set for a return to his homeland.