PRACTISE paid off for Sam Greenwood when he scored Middlesbrough's brilliant late winner against Leicester City.

The Leeds United loanee made clear in his unveiling as a Boro player early in the season that he sees himself as a set-piece taker - and showed why with his stunner to settle a tight game against the Championship's leaders.

Greenwood had one set-piece opportunity early in the second half when Boro won a free-kick on the edge of the box, but on that occasion the forward's effort cannoned back off the wall. The second, seven minutes from time, was at least five yards further back, and Greenwood - who'd won the free-kick himself - curled beautifully into the top corner of Mads Hermansen's net.

And watching on from the dugout, head coach Michael Carrick wasn't at all surprised.


“He practises that all the time," said Carrick.

"He had one before that that I think was probably just a bit too close. You can only get so much power and dip. The one he scored from, I hasten to say perfect, but it probably was that.

"I kind of had a feeling as he stepped up, I fancied him because it looked like it was set up just at the right spot for him. It’s a hell of a free-kick. There are not many people who can pull that off, but he’s got that in his locker consistently. It’s a real threat and a real weapon for us."

Greenwood underlined his Boro importance with the late winner, taking his tally to four goals in six games. He's now just one shy of Boro's top scorer Riley McGree.