Middlesbrough centre-back Daniel Ayala is relishing a reunion with his old club as they travel to Merseyside to take on Liverpool in the League Cup this evening.
The 23-year-old made five first-team appearances for Liverpool under Rafa Benitez, and has since played for Norwich City, Derby County and Nottingham Forest before joining his current club.
He told the official Middlesbrough website: “This is a special game for me because I played there for years and it’s always good to go back.
“Liverpool helped me grow as a player, I had to develop faster playing with players from all over the world and I’m really thankful for that.
“I remember making my debut against Tottenham so I can’t wait to go back and play.”
Ayala was used as cover at times when the side was short at the back because of injuries and suspensions. At the time the Reds had Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel ahead of Ayala in the pecking order - as well as Greek defender Sotorious Kyrgiakos.
He seems to have found his level in the Championship and more regular game time could help him improve his performance level. Ideally for both the club and player, they will want to raise their level together and contend for a place in the Premiership for next season.