Aitor Karanka explains his approach to development of Middlesbrough's academy graduates

Middlesbrough FC Crest

The Boro boss is aware of the need to promote from within, but is wary of rushing youngsters into the senior set-up.

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka insists in the Gazette he still has full faith in the club's famed academy, despite bringing in a number of loan signings this season.

Boro's current Under-21 side is very highly rated and is currently performing well in the UEFA Youth League, and the star of that team is 18-year-old winger Harry Chapman.

Some fans have called for Chapman to be promoted into the first-team, whilst his team-mates Dael Fry, Callum Cooke and Junior Mondal are also pushing hard, but despite having some youngsters who look ready, Karanka has instead opted to bring in loan players.

Bruno Zuculini, Jack Stephens, Tomas Kalas and Fernando Amorebieta - who this season has been preferred to Ben Gibson, who was the last product to make the step up to the first-team – have all been brought in, whilst he has also opted to loan out England youth internationals Adam Jackson and Bryn Morris to lower league clubs.

But Karanka insists he has the club's academy players firmly in his mind and said in the Gazette: “I know how important young players are to the people at this club.

“To improve, (Chapman) needs to get mature. He has everything to play in the first-team squad but we have to take the right steps.

“He has trained with us, and I know all of the Academy players. I watched the UEFA Youth League games and I know all of the players who are playing.

“Three or four of them have trained with us from the Academy. I trust the young players, but I have to give them the opportunity at the right moment.”

Karanka insists that he wants to make sure he handles the development of the club's own talent with care.

“The thing I don’t want is to make a mistake with one kid,” Karanka said.

“I don’t want to put him in the squad or on the pitch and then forget him one or two weeks later.

“They are playing for the Under-21s and Under-19s, and it’s good experience to play in those games.”

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