THERE'LL be one man on the pitch at Elland Road this afternoon who played the last time Middlesbrough won at Leeds 12 years ago - the difference being this time he'll be wearing red instead of white.

Jonny Howson was in the Leeds midfield when Tony Mowbray's Boro won 1-0 at Leeds back in 2011, Marvin Emnes scoring the winner.

It's a game Howson will recall for the wrong reasons, for the now Boro skipper was one of three players sent off in a pretty bad tempered affair, with Max Gradel and Tony McMahon also seeing red.

Red cards haven't been hard to come by in this fixture over the years but Carrick isn't necessarily expecting another this afternoon, saying: "I think football has changed in terms of the red cards and how aggressive you can be in that way.

"I think now aggression in football is very different to what it used to be. Now it is more a case of imposing yourself on the team or maybe pressing high or maybe playing positive with the ball at your feet. Not so much the tackles or the off the ball aggression in that way."

Anyway, back to Howson. Since that win in 2011, Boro have tried and failed seven further times to be successful at Elland Road and bringing an end to that run will be tough this afternoon, for Daniel Farke's Leeds are in flying form and have won their last six games on home turf.

But Boro aren't short of belief after their midweek hammering of Preston, and Howson - with all of his experience and his leadership skills - will, as ever, be a hugely important figure for Carrick's side against his hometown club.


Carrick said: "Experience is a wonderful thing.

"It's strange in some ways. There are extremes. You get the really experienced players who have been through a lot and seen a lot and try to keep emotion and concentration levels in check. Then sometimes there's the other end of the scale and the freshness of young players and excitement of playing a game like that and playing without a care in the world thinking what could possibly go wrong?

"Certainly experience helps when you use it in the right way and Jonny is a stand-out with the way he leads by example."

Howson endured the frustration of missing last season's run-in because of injury and was also absent at the start of the current campaign, but the captain has returned to once again establish himself as a key man for Boro.

"I think it just sums up who Jonny is and how he respects his profession and his body and looks after it the right way," said Carrickk.

"He trains well, has an unbelievable attitude and to still be playing at the age he's at at such a level and he still has more to come, he's not counting down the days by any stretch. That's credit to him."