MICHAEL CARRICK has praised Middlesbrough’s work during the January transfer window, and expects the club’s three new arrivals to play pivotal roles in the final eight games of the Championship season.

Cameron Archer has been an instant hit since moving to Teesside on loan from Aston Villa, with his brace in last weekend’s 4-0 thrashing of Preston meaning he has scored six goals in his last eight matches.

His fellow Villa loanee, Aaron Ramsey, started Saturday’s game on the substitutes’ bench, but the forward has also been heavily involved in recent weeks, scoring in back-to-back matches against Reading and Swansea.

Dan Barlaser, who joined Boro from Rotherham United, has found his involvement more limited, but his substitute appearance against Preston was his fifth outing for the Teessiders and he is poised to provide valuable competition to the first-choice central-midfield pairing of Jonny Howson and Hayden Hackney when the action resumes after the international break.

“The boys who have come in have settled well,” said Carrick, who will lead his side back into action when they head to the John Smith’s Stadium to take on Neil Warnock’s Huddersfield Town on April 1. “All of them, in their different ways.

“They’re all really important to the group as well, they’re all a part of it. It’s never straightforward in terms of bringing players in. Will they settle? Will they, especially the younger players, manage ups and downs in form?


“All three of them have been really good, and we’re delighted with how it’s gone. But we’re still looking ahead and pushing them for that little bit more. We try and help to develop them while they’re here and our players – that’s what we enjoy doing as coaches.”

Two of Boro’s January additions will be away from Rockliffe Park for the next fortnight, with both Archer and Ramsey having been selected in the England Under-20s squad for matches against Germany, USA and France.

In total, Boro have ten players away on international duty, with Zack Steffen (USA), Paddy McNair (Northern Ireland), Riley McGree (Australia), Marcus Forss (Finland), Anfernee Dijksteel (Suriname) and Kamil Conteh (Sierra Leone) all hoping to feature in full internationals in the next couple of weeks.

Sonny Finch, who enjoyed first-team action in the recent games against Swansea City and Stoke City, has been named in the England Under-18s squad, while Hayden Hackney has once again been selected by Scotland Under-21s. Hackney is still eligible to play senior international football for either Scotland or England.