Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate has defended summer signings Marc Bola and Anfernee Dijksteel following their difficult starts to life at the Riverside Stadium.
Bola was signed from Blackpool and has started Boro’s last three Championship games, while Dijksteel was a summer recruit from Charlton and has been in and out of the side at the beginning of the campaign.
Woodgate says he is very confident that the pair will prove to be very good purchases for the club, but there will be a bedding-in period as they look to make the step up to the Championship:
“I would say it’s a bit of a step up for them. It was difficult for them at first but those two will improve, they will get better, that is guaranteed.”
“I’m seeing it in training, they will definitely improve and they will be a success at this club if they keep on going and keep on wanting to improve which they do, they are keen as mustard, the pair of them.”
“They listen to everything I want them to do, they look me in the eye, there’s no looking at the floor, they want to improve.”
Neither Dijksteel nor Bola have played in the second tier until this season. Dijksteel made his senior debut in League One with Charlton while Bola came through the academy at Arsenal before making his name in the lower divisions.
With both players in their early twenties, both have time to develop as players and Woodgate will be hoping they can meet expectations sooner rather than later.