HE will never learn, they said. He doesn’t have an end product, they said. He can’t defend, they said. He doesn’t work hard enough, they said. He is uncoachable, they said.

Well … Adama Traore is certainly going about proving a few people wrong in the right way. And some.

It is still far too early to say he already has. What is clear, though, is that the 22-year-old is showing he is more than capable of learning what he needs to do to fulfil his potential.

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When a side has the sort of raw and exciting talent in its ranks Traore offers, it is so easy to turn single him out as the talking point. Having watched him score his first two Riverside goals, proving the difference to help deliver three points against Reading, it is impossible not to.

He deserves all the recognition and credit he is getting – and if he continues to progress like he has under Pulis then it is not a ridiculous thing to suggest he deserves a much bigger stage than the Championship.

Middlesbrough are focused on going up this season and the fact the gap to the play-off places has been reduced to four points has strengthened those chances. What Traore has shown in recent weeks, though, is how important he is to that Premier League push.

When there is a player possessing as much power and pace as Traore, what he was always going to be judged on was what he did at the end of his incredible runs that terrorise defenders.

He didn’t used to do much when it mattered in the top-flight last season, nor did he look like he had learned anything over the summer for life in the Championship under Garry Monk. Pulis has changed that.

Traore’s second and third goals for Middlesbrough in 18 months highlighted that – and just to see him shoot, and on target, highlights how he has started to trust himself more in such situations.

When he skipped round Leandro Bacuna in the final minute of the first half and then powered an effort that had too much on it for former Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone to deal with, Boro were ahead. He wouldn’t have tried that effort earlier in his Middlesbrough career.

Then a few minutes after the break he was at it again. Reading made the disastrous mistake of giving him too much space to run into and then he drilled an effort inside the far post to secure a two-goal advantage.

Pulis said: “There’s nothing different. He scores goals in training, he scores them with aplomb and it’s about taking that into a Saturday. Psychologically, it’s about sitting down with him and saying it’s no different to training, it’s having that belief. The goals are in the same position as in training.”

Pulis has always been a manager with a reputation for setting teams up more defensively than to attack, he likes a long ball too – highlighted by the way he asks full-back Ryan Shotton to constantly throw into the box where striker Rudy Gestede lurks.

But the former West Brom and Stoke manager has always liked wingers too, and from what he has seen of Traore already he knows he could have something special on his hands.

“He does and he doesn’t excite me,” said Pulis. “There’s things he can do better and he’s nowhere near the finished article. We’ve got to make sure we protect him and look after him and that might mean leaving him out from time to time because he’s a little bit tired.”

In the end Middlesbrough fans left the Riverside happy and that boiled down to Traore’s performance, by and large. Had he not managed to find the net then frustrations are sure to have been evident in the stands.

Middlesbrough – who have won all 14 games they have went ahead in this season - hadn’t threatened Mannone anywhere near enough and that was despite Reading, who have won just one of their last 11, looking every bit a side struggling for the confidence that saw them reach the play-off final last season.

After the restart, and Traore’s second, Middlesbrough had a few more chances. Grant Leadbitter struck a free-kick against the upright and Patrick Bamford had a glorious chance that he scuffed.

The least said about Britt Assombalonga’s penalty miss – when he powered miles over the bar after Traore had been shoved to the floor – the better. That could have been a crucial error too, with five minutes remaining, because at that stage Reading had made a game of it.

Seven minutes earlier Chris Martin, who opted for the Royals rather than Sunderland on loan before the deadline, had picked out the bottom corner through a crowded area from the edge of the area.

Pulis said: “I’m pleased with, but disappointed that we’ve not taken our chances that we should. If you can put a run of seven or eight wins together you can get in the promotion picture. I certainly won’t be writing us off – not yet, anyway.”