REGARDLESS of how the Morgan Rogers transfer situation plays out in the coming days, the interest in the forward is an example to Middlesbrough's current players and transfer targets now and in the future that there's a pathway to the Premier League from the Riverside.

Boro's work on building a sustainable model has seen recruitment focus on young players with big potential signed for relatively modest fees. Rogers is a fine example. Boro swooped to sign the forward from Manchester City for a fee thought to be in the region of £1.5m in the summer. If Aston Villa are to be successful in their bid to sign the 21-year-old this month, they'll have to pay north of £10m for him.

Whether Rogers goes or not, the forward's progress in such a short space of time on Teesside will be noted by transfer targets in the future. And he's not the only example.

Last January, Cameron Archer and Aaron Ramsey played their way to big money Premier League moves on the back of fine loan stints at the Riverside.

Rav van den Berg saw Boro as a wiser choice than some of Europe's biggest clubs in the summer, Sam Greenwood was excited by the prospect of kick-starting his stuttering career back into life on Teesside, Finn Azaz told of the pull of the Boro project after arriving from Aston Villa and only yesterday Luke Thomas, a former England Under-21 international who was playing Premier League football in the first half of the season, linked up with Carrick's side.

Boro are first identifying the young talent and then succeeding in attracting them to Teesside. The chance to play for Carrick, who has quickly built a glowing reputation as a coach, is clearly a major appeal. But the recruitment team also deserve immense credit for their part in effectively building two different Boro teams over the course of the last year.


It's little surprise that Boro haven't had much difficulty in tempting young, highly-rated players to the club.

They've established a reputation for playing good easy-on-the-eye football under Carrick, went close to promotion last season, have got themselves in the mix again this term and enjoyed that high profile run to the Carabao Cup last four - and, importantly, players are improving.

There is, then, plenty to offer young transfer targets.

"I hope so," said Carrick this week.

Carrick was keen to stress an important point, though. Yes, the aim is to develop young players and that might well mean that Premier League clubs come calling. And if valuations are met, Boro won't stand in the way of players, as they've proven over recent seasons. That's the situation with Rogers right now.  But priority number one on Teesside isn't the progression of players simply to move them on, rather to help Boro succeed in their bid to reach the top flight.

"The boys here are largely developing well and moving in the right direction," said Carrick.

"We want better results, of course we want to be further up the league, but we feel there's a lot of good here but we're not just building something to be an extended academy by any stretch.

"We want to get better as a team and squad and achieve things.

"In terms of attracting players, yeah, we get positive feedback and that is good to know. It's good to know in terms of the coaches, good to know in terms of the squad and environment and the size, capability and potential of the club as well.

"We're happy with the way it's going, but we want more."