Juninho gives his thoughts on Middlesbrough's Premier League return

Juninho Paulista - Middlesbrough

The charismatic attacking midfielder is optimistic of his old club as they head into their new season.

Juninho Paulista - MiddlesbroughJuninho Paulista - Middlesbrough

One famous former Middlesbrough favourite has had his say on the club's return to the Premier League on ESPN, as the weekend's curtain raiser against Stoke City comes ever closer.

Juninho featured in the top flight on three separate occasions as the club made it to the pinnacle of English football, first joining them in 1995 as part of the entertaining side Bryan Robson was putting together. 

The skilful midfielder then returned for one season in 1999, before taking in another campaign and a half in 2003.

James ScowcroftPaulinho& James Scowcroft

And though the Teessiders have yo-yoed at times since the Brazilian first arrived in English football, he is optimistic after Middlesbrough sealed second spot in the Championship in May.

"I believe Middlesbrough have come to stay in the league, as Leicester did last year, when they came up with the intention of staying up," the 43-year-old said on ESPN.

"They have a really competent coach who understands the competitiveness of the Premier League and knows how to win.

"He has played at some big clubs so I believe Middlesbrough will be very competitive."

ASJuninho in action for Brazil - AS

Juninho is certainly right about manager Aitor Karanka, with the former defender taking in significant spells at Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid, and also playing for the Spanish national team.

Karanka went on to return to the Bernabeu as a coach under Jose Mourinho before taking up the hot seat at the Riverside. Considering it is his first full time management job, he has certainly impressed, and Karanka will have to channel all of his playing experience to ensure the club perform as strongly as possible in the coming campaign. 

Picture Supplied by Action ImagesJuninho - Picture Supplied by Action Images

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