TONY MOWBRAY has defended the decision to bring Sammy Ameobi down from Newcastle United by revealing the impact the forward has already had on the Middlesbrough training ground.
Ameobi will be unable to face Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round tonight because he is cup-tied but will be available to face Championship leaders Cardiff City on Saturday.
And the exciting Magpies prospect is likely to be thrust straight in to action on the wing for Boro after turning on the style on the training ground in his first couple of days at the club's Rockliffe Park HQ.
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Many Middlesbrough supporters have expressed a negative view that Mowbray should have turned to similar aged youngsters already at the club - like Adam Reach and Luke Williams - rather than give Ameobi experience.
But the Middlesbrough boss has rubbished such talk, insisting the England Under-21 international has the ingredients to wreak havoc to Championship full-backs between now and the end of the season.
"I don't have any left-wingers â€¦ Adam Reach is a totally different player to Sammy Ameobi," said Mowbray, who had previously considered loaning Stewart Downing to fill that role before the player's renaissance at Liverpool.
"Adam Reach is a converted left-back, I would say, a left wing-back. He is a young boy with lots of talent, I would agree. But at this moment I would have to say Ameobi is different. He can do things that Reach can't do - just I would suggest Reach can do other things that Ameobi can't do.
"When Sammy gets the ball he will be able to dance past three or four players. Just because a player is left-footed it is unfair to compare two footballers just because they can play in the same position.
"Luke Williams is again a hugely different player. Is he a wide left player, a centre-forward? We have utilised him this year where we think is best to play him."
Mowbray admits he will not be putting too much pressure on Ameobi to shine too soon, but is looking for the Tyneside-born forward to bring some extra life to Middlesbrough's push for promotion.
But he is also listening to offers which could see either Reach or Williams depart to lower league clubs for a similar period of time.
"Young players are such that they can hit patches of form and then drop out of it," he said. "Ameobi might do that. Will he be able to play 12 games on the bounce for us? He might be startling for two and then hit a lull. We will see.
"I've been talking to Reach and Williams recently about going out on loan because they need to play games. If I don't think they can help us at the moment to win matches then maybe they could go out on loan, to develop them. To see how well they do for another team. As we have done with other young players this year.
"There has been cases like Downing, (Adam) Johnson going out on loan and coming back better players. That's the manager's decision. It doesn't matter what other people think."
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