RILEY McGree was forced to miss Middlesbrough's win at Sunderland because of a foot problem that he picked up just seconds before his planned withdrawal in the midweek win over Cardiff City.

Boro will now closely monitor the plantar fascia issue and it's not clear at this stage whether McGree will link up with Australia for the international break as planned. The Socceroos are playing England at Wembley on Friday night.

Carrick says the timing of the injury was desperately unfortunate given the head coach was planning to take McGree off just before he pulled up with the complaint on Tuesday night. He was replaced by Matt Crooks in the team for the 4-0 win at Sunderland.

Carrick said: “Riley felt his foot literally 30 seconds before we were going to bring him off anyway. It's really bad luck. He felt a pain in the bottom of his foot, plantar fascia-type which is an issue that’s not easy to get on top of. We’ll have to see how he is over the next few days."


Boro suffered another injury setback just before the Sunderland game when Rav van den Berg, who was due to start at right-back, pulled up in the warm-up and was replaced in the team by Tommy Smith, who put in a hugely impressive display.

Carrick said: “It was a tough call today between Tommy and Rav that I had to make. Rav went down in the warm-up, and late too, so Tommy had to come in.

"I really couldn’t ask any more of him. He used all of his experience to come through it in the way he did. When you think you’re sub and not starting, it’s a different kind of feeling when you’re out warming up. You sometimes aren’t as prepared. To then get that call so late, I thought he dealt with that very, very well.

"He was fantastic and played a big part in the win. It could have been a drama, it could have proven costly, but in the end it didn’t. We’ll have to see how Rav is now."

Darragh Lenihan and Jonny Howson were both on the bench at the Stadium of Light.

Carrick said: “Both Darragh and Jonny have both been ill. Darragh has had a couple of niggles as well which he’s been nursing for a few weeks. They’re two big players."