MICHAEL CARRICK has praised the impact of Middlesbrough’s substitutes this season, and claimed the willingness of his players to buy into the wider squad ethic has been a key part of their success.

Boro’s attacking replacements, in particular, have been especially effective in recent weeks, with a substitute scoring in three of the club’s last six league matches.

In total, substitutes have accounted for eight of Boro’s goals in all competitions this season, with the likes of Morgan Rogers, Sammy Silvera and Emmanuel Latte Lath all making a telling impact from the bench when they have not been starting games.

The depth of Carrick’s squad means a number of his summer signings have had to be patient as they wait for an opportunity to prove themselves, and the Boro boss has been delighted with the way in which they have successfully made the most of their time on the field, even if it has come as a replacement in the latter stages of a game.

“It’s vital for us that they do that,” said the Boro boss, whose side return to action after the international break on Saturday with a trip to Bristol City. “I don’t think we can take for granted that the players have the mentality to do that because it isn’t easy when you’re not starting a game, or you’re not playing as much as you might want.

“You have to keep your energy and also keep that willingness to want to make a big impact. I don’t take it for granted and appreciate how much the boys give to be part of the group.


“They all work for each other. Sometimes, that’s through the support from the players coming off the bench, sometimes that’s from the stands and in training, and then also on the pitch, supporting and sacrificing for each other.

“They’ve all played such a big part, and they will continue to. Subs have managed to make a big difference for us over the past few weeks and we need to keep that up and keep feeding off that. There will be different roles for different players at different times.”

The Northern Echo: Morgan Rogers celebrates after leaving the bench to score Middlesbrough's winner against BirminghamMorgan Rogers celebrates after leaving the bench to score Middlesbrough's winner against Birmingham (Image: Andrew Varley)

Boro’s squad underwent a significant overhaul in the summer, with 12 new players arriving as a number of last season’s most influential performers departed, either because they were sold or returned to their parent club at the end of their respective loan deals.

It is never a given that a new group of players will blend effectively, but with squad unity and spirit having been a key part of last season’s success under Carrick, the current campaign has witnessed a similarly strong sense of togetherness and camaraderie at Rockliffe Park.

Carrick and his fellow coaches play an influential role in cultivating that team environment, but ultimately, the head coach concedes it is incumbent on each and every player to buy in to what is being developed around them.

The senior players within the squad are the driving forces behind the adoption of a successful team ethic, with the less experienced members of the group then following their lead.

“The players lead that mentality themselves,” explained Carrick. “I think it’s a credit to them how they look after each other, treat each other and how they behave and support each other.

“Of course, as staff, we help guide them and lead it to a certain point. But they’ve got to want to do it, they’ve got to want to get on.

“They don’t necessarily have to be best friends and hang out on that side of things. But certainly, I think they all understand that if you want to be successful then it’s about the team and the squad. You can’t do it on your own. That’s why they’re such a pleasure to lead really. They give that and an awful lot more.”