Aitor Karanka, the manager of Championship table-toppers Middlesbrough, should have little to complain about given his side’s league position. However, he has admitted to Gazette Live that Chelsea loanee Kenneth Omeruo’s form needs to improve.
The Nigerian, who enjoyed a very successful spell at the Riverside last season, has been unable to recapture the same form he took with him to the World Cup and has recently been struggling for consistent game time under Karanka.
‘’Both Tomas and Ben are playing really well,’’ Karanka replied when asked about Omeruo’s position in the squad.
‘’I am very pleased with Ken [Omeruo] because he is a special player for me because he came here last season and improved a lot. This season he is not at the same level and when you are not at your best level there are other players ready to play.’’
The 21-year-old has made just 18 Championship appearances this season, scoring once, and has featured in just four of Middlesbrough’s last 12 Championship matches.
What has gone wrong for Omeruo at Boro?
After such a successful World Cup with Nigeria, many expected the youngster to go on and play a big part for Chelsea in the following season.
However, upon returning to England from Brazil, Jose Mourinho didn’t hesitate in sending the defender back on loan to Boro after a successful spell there in the latter part of the previous season.
The decision by Mourinho, while largely considered correct for his development at the time, could have been deflating for the Nigerian after the plaudits he earned in South America. Therefore, the return to the level he had already succeeded at could have knocked his motivation and eventually gone on to show in his performances.
Nevertheless, it’s important for the international defender to realise that his attitude and performances in the Championship will eventually reflect in decision Mourinho will one day make on his future.