George Friend has praised Aitor Karanka’s business in the transfer market, calling Tottenham man Ryan Fredericks a ‘brilliant’ addition.
22-year-old full-back Fredericks has featured for Boro three times since his season-long loan switch from Spurs, winning plaudits from all corners of the media and cementing himself as one of the key performers in the side who sit just one point off the top of the Championship table.
The youngster has been joined at the Riverside Stadium by fellow Spurs man Milos Veljkovic, who agreed a 93-day loan with Boro to provide cover for the midfield, making him the fifth loan Karanka has signed from either Spurs, or their London rivals Chelsea.
Despite the inclusion of the Serbian international, Boro full-back George Friend told the Northern Echo that he wouldn’t change Karaka’s squad for any other in the division.
The 26-year-old said: “I wouldn’t swap our squad for anyone else’s in the league.
“Both in terms of quality and depth. We’ve had injuries and suspensions, but people have come in and been every bit as good.
“A perfect example is Ryan Fredericks coming in – the lads and fans have loved him for obvious reasons. He’s stepped in for Damia [Abella], who is a massive loss, but Ryan has done brilliantly since he’s come in. We’ve got options everywhere.
“It’s the quality that the manager has brought in that’s made the difference, and the fact that we now have two players for every position. That’s what he always wanted – and he’s got it.”
The only position that Friend believes has shown weakness over the course of the season has been in central midfield, but Karanka has addressed that with the arrival of Veljkovic.
“Maybe the one area where you could say we haven’t quite got two for every position is that central midfield role,” he added.
“But I’m hearing someone might be coming there [Veljkovic]. And Rhys [Williams] can also play there when he’s back fit. If everyone’s fit, we have a massive squad and I genuinely wouldn’t swap it for any other.”
Boro confirmed the signing of Veljkovic on Thursday morning, keeping the youngster at the Riverside for a three-month spell.