ADAMA TRAORE has thanked Tony Pulis for trusting him to deliver in a Middlesbrough shirt after a two-goal performance that is guaranteed to have been noted by his Premier League suitors.

The 22-year-old’s brace helped Boro secure an important three points against Reading on Saturday when supporters left the Riverside impressed once again by the winger.

Traore is being monitored by a number of top-flight clubs and rightly so given the incredible potential he has – and he is starting to find a level of consistency he has not managed before.

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The Spaniard has been accused of not working hard enough in a defensive sense and lacking an end product during his time in England, having spent a year at Aston Villa before moving to Teesside in the summer of 2016.

Those criticisms have ended with him failing to hold down a regular starting spot but Pulis has given him the platform to really shine since taking over on Boxing Day.

And when Traore’s powerful first finish had found the net a minute before half-time on Saturday, he made a bee-line for his manager on the touchline.

Traore said: “He’s been a big influence on me since he came in and I want to keep working hard for him, not just in an attacking sense but defensively as well.

“I went to celebrate with him to say ‘thank you’ and that’s what it’s all about. I want more, so I will keep working hard every day.He added: “Every couple of days he’s working with me, telling me how I need to move, with the ball or without the ball, where to be on the pitch. Because I’m listening it’s helping me to get more goals and assists.

“The whole thing is about what you want, and I want to work hard on the pitch to get better. The manager has given me a lot of confidence in the final third, he’s told me he knows I have a lot of quality and that I should start shooting more myself.

“Now I’m trying to make good decisions in the final third and that sometimes is to shoot. I need to keep repeating my actions and I’ll get more goals and assists. I want to be the best player possible.”

Traore had not scored for Middlesbrough in 29 league appearances before scoring in the win at Queens Park Rangers next month.

Since then he has had more efforts on goal than he has tended to during his time in the North-East and the confidence to try things is clearly paying off.

Traore’s first came when he cut inside his marker, Leandro Bacuna, before unleashing a powerful drive that had too much on it for Vito Mannone to save.

The second, less than four minutes into the second half, arrived when he made the most of the space in front of him to drill a low strike inside the far corner to leave Reading with an uphill task.  His goals were only part of a positive display. Even though he did fade in and out of the game, whenever he did get the ball he lifted everyone and sparked the game to life.

Traore is aware of how people have suggested that he is not coachable, but he is intent on making sure he keeps proving people wrong.  He said: "I can do it, sometimes if you don't show them people will say you can't do this or can't do that but I know what I can do. I can learn.

"I'm a happy guy, whatever happens, but I'm happier when we win. I'm working hard to be the best player that I can.  “You know if you give 100 per cent every day that you're going to be happy with yourself. When you lose you've got to pick yourselves up and go again.  “Before, I didn't have the confidence and the minutes to get experience to trust myself. I just want to show the gaffer what I've got.

"I'm still young, I can't say I'm in the best moment of my career. I want to do a lot of things in my career and keep building on my talent, learn more about the tactics both with the ball and without it in the final third. If I do that I will be even happier.”

West Ham and Chelsea are two of the clubs known to have shown an interest in him and that list is sure to grow if he continues to show the sort of form he is in right now.

That will not be the only thing to grow, with such impressive displays likely to see his valuation soar and Middlesbrough are in the strong position of having him tied down to a contract until 2020.

West Ham and Chelsea are two of the clubs known to have shown an interest in him and that list is sure to grow if he continues to show the sort of form he is in right now.

That will not be the only thing to grow either, with such impressive displays likely to see his valuation soar and Middlesbrough are in the strong position of having him tied down to a contract until 2020.

Traore is clearly enjoying it at the Riverside and, speaking with a smile on his face, he is focused on keeping Middlesbrough heading in the right direction with a play-off spot in sights.

The former Barcelona youngster said: "The most important thing is how we win, everybody worked so hard for the win and it's important we finally won and got the three points at home. We need to keep improving and getting better.

"I think we can get into the top six, it's about getting the confidence, working hard every day. The team has a very good mentality. The good thing is that whatever the result, I always know this group will be working hard the next day.”

Middlesbrough’s victory lifted them to within four points of sixth spot and the fact they ended the wait for a first home win in the Championship under Pulis should augur well for the rest of the season.

But they face a testing trip to promotion contenders Cardiff this weekend.

Traore said: "Every game is a big game for the team. Wherever we go, we have to make sure we are ready.

"Sometimes things might not go as you want them to, but you have to stay focused and fully concentrated. If we do those things then I think we will get to where we want to.”