Middlesbrough’s Djed Spence broke onto the Championship last season after being handed an opportunity by former boss Johnathan Woodgate. The full-back, who has progressed through the academy in the North East, impressed when given his chance in the first team. As he continues his development, he will prove to be one to watch this season.
Djed Spence: Why the Middlesbrough Full-Back is One to Watch This Season
Turbulent Start to His Career
Spence, 20, joined Middlesbrough academy in 2018 from Fulham. The tenacious and energetic full-back progressed through the ranks at Boro, before he earned his debut in the Carabao Cup as a substitute against Notts County. A year later, Spence made his first league appearance in a 1-0 win over Charlton on 7th December 2019. His career then took off, as he went on to make 22 more appearances for Middlesbrough, bagging one goal in the process.
A lively, attacking full-back, who loves to take people on is one way to describe the prospect. His persistent and hard-working displays have caught the eye of many, including some of Europe’s biggest clubs. After putting in an impressive performance against Tottenham in the Cup, boss Jose Mourinho was interested in Djed. It is believed that Mourinho is an admirer of the youngster after hearing reports from his son, who is in the academy at Fulham.
Relationship with Neil Warnock
New boss Neil Warnock is another high admirer of the right wing-back and enjoys having his services at the club. Warnock believes that the 20-year-old has all the attributes to succeed and is extremely gifted for his age. However, with little experience to his name, he hopes he doesn’t run before he can walk.
“With Djed, I think it’s more of a mental issue he’ll have to have in the next couple of years,” explained Warnock. “I think it’s about what you need to play at the top level, it’s a hard league. The Championship’s hard as well, but to get to the top level, you have to be really mentally strong.”
“He’s only a young lad at the minute, and he’s got a lot to learn. I hope I can teach him certain things. He reminds me very much of Nathaniel Clyne, who I had at Palace. He was a really nice lad and had to learn how to look after himself.”
Both parties have a strong relationship, with Warnock looking to aid the progression of the prospect. The pair reportedly hold regular one-to-one meetings, scrutinising parts of his game to get the best performances.
Spence plays similar to the modern-day full-back, and will want to emulate the success of the like of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. As he looks to progress technically and mentally, a move to the Premier League may not be too far away.
Embed from Getty Images