KENNETH OMERUO has confirmed he is rejoining Middlesbrough on a season-long loan, with the Chelsea defender expected to link up with the rest of Aitor Karanka’s squad before the end of the week.
Omeruo was one of Boro’s key players as he spent the second half of last season on loan at the Riverside, and Karanka was desperate to re-sign the 20-year-old this summer.
The Boro head coach’s close relationship with Jose Mourinho was always going to be a key factor in discussions, with the Chelsea boss having been impressed by Omeruo’s development while on Teesside.
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The centre-half made a number of impressive performances for Nigeria at the World Cup finals, leading to fears that Premier League clubs could attempt to lure the youngster away from the North-East.
However, Omeruo used his personal Twitter account to confirm he will be returning to Middlesbrough last night, having been granted an extended period of leave from Chelsea following his exploits in Brazil.
He tweeted: “Holiday is finished. Almost time for work again. Happy to be rejoining Boro for a new season...”
Middlesbrough take on Atletico Clube de Portugal in the final game of their training camp in Marbella this morning, with the squad due to return to England later in the day.
They will resume training at Rockliffe Park on Thursday, with Omeruo expected to link back up with them at that stage.
Boro claimed their second pre-season victory on Saturday morning as goals from Lee Tomlin, Bradley Fewster, Luke Williams and Grant Leadbitter secured a 4-0 win over Real Balompedica Linense.
Rather than running his squad into the ground, Karanka has prioritised close-control work and tactical instruction, with full-back George Friend claiming the decision has already paid dividends.
“It’s been all football with very little running,” said the full-back, who was one of only two players to play the full 90 minutes of Saturday’s game. “It suits me. I need to get my fitness through football. I think we’re reaping the rewards of that.
“It was a good win (on Saturday). It was good to play the full game in the heat and to get my fitness up. I was very pleased.
“Wednesday’s game (when Boro lost to Lucena) wasn’t good enough. You take the negatives out of that and turn them into positives.
“The manager wasn’t happy after Wednesday and he doesn’t hide that. He was upset, we were all embarrassed, we had to put it right on Saturday. And we did that.”
Tomlin opened the scoring in Saturday’s game when he converted from the penalty spot, before Fewster added a second goal at the start of the second half.
Summer signing Kike came off the bench for the final 23 minutes of the game, with Williams claiming a third with five minutes remaining.
Leadbitter rounded off the scoring three minutes later, latching on to Kike’s through ball before slotting home.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Steele (Konstantopoulos 46), Morris, Woodgate (Gibson 78), Ayala (Burgess 78), Friend, Whitehead (Leadbitter 78), Butterfield (Reach 78), Halliday (L Williams 67), Tomlin (Main 67), Reach (Smallwood 78), Fewster (Kike 67).