WHEN Finn Azaz joined Plymouth in the summer on a season-long loan, there was no settling-in period required.

For the then-Aston Villa forward had spent the previous campaign at Home Park and after impressing in League One, another stint with Argyle was deemed best by and for all parties.

With an already deep understanding of what then-Plymouth boss Steven Schumacher wanted from him on the back of last season's spell, Azaz wasted no time in making a Championship impact. He scored seven goals and created five more in the first half of the season as Argyle - and Azaz - quickly adapted to life in the second tier.

And Boro were watching closely. Azaz was on their radar last season but Boro wanted to see how the 23-year adjusted to the Championship before making their move. The versatile forward's impressive displays for Argyle before Christmas left the club's recruitment and management team in no doubt that they should strike when the January window opened.

Boro beat Bristol City and others to the permanent capture of Azaz, but this move and what followed was very different for the attacker compared to his summer switch to Plymouth.

Not only did he have to get to grips with a new style, approach and the preferences and demands of Michael Carrick, he had to learn on the job. Azaz arrived in the middle of the season and was thrust straight into the action.

Three months down the line, he admits he's still adjusting to life at Boro on the pitch and with that in mind has promised "there's more to come". But Boro have already seen flashes of Azaz's undoubted quality. He scored a stunner at Preston, followed that up with another goal at Leicester and registered his second assist in red when he teed up Emmanuel Latte Lath for the striker's second goal against Swansea on Saturday.


"I'm still learning the players and learning the style of football, but I'm really enjoying it here, I'm loving it," says Azaz, who has played off the left and as a No.10 for Boro so far.

"I’d played in multiple positions at Plymouth before this move and I’ve spent the last three or four years learning how to play different positions so that I was ready to take an opportunity like the one I’ve been given here.

"Wherever I’m playing, I’ll give my all and try and figure it out to have the best impact. I’m learning the style and keen to keep developing to ensure I can have an impact wherever I’m asked to play. There is more to come from me, for sure.

"I’ll probably always feel that there is because I’m a perfectionist so I’m always demanding more from myself. There is definitely more to come though.

"I’ve got a winning mentality and that remains whatever team I’m playing in. Obviously there are different demands and targets and different styles, but I’m trying to win games regardless.

"The big thing about the move has been learning a new role and a new style. That’s what I’m adapting to."

Azaz has started Boro's last three games and is set to play a leading role in the final weeks of the campaign, starting on Wednesday night with the crunch trip to rivals Hull City.

Off the pitch, Azaz intends to get involved with some charity work on Teesside in the future.

During his time at Plymouth, the forward spent one day a week volunteering at St Luke's Hospice, in Devon - and while his attention since January has been on his football, he does plan to continue his charity work in the North East.

He said: “My main focus right now has been settling on the pitch, learning and growing in the team in order to have an impact on the pitch. I’m still settling in, but settling in nicely.

"In terms of off the field, I definitely hope to get involved in that kind of stuff [charity work] in the future. It’s important to from a personal point of view. Doing that kind of thing off the pitch is rewarding for me and helps me because it acts as like a distraction as well. It’s really important to me.”