Garry Monk handed Marcus Tavernier a Middlesbrough launching three-and-a-half years back and now the 21-year-old is standing out

Middlesbrough fans might not have numerous positive things to say about Garry Monk and his time at Middlesbrough, but one thing he can always lay claim to is being the manager who handed Marcus Tavernier his debut at the club.

Just 18 at the time, Tavernier started an EFL Cup game against Scunthorpe United after Monk spotted his potential and welcomed him to train with the first-team that summertime.

He would set up an Ashley Fletcher objective in that cup win and went on to make seven more looks under Monk – including 5 in the Championship and netting a winning objective in a 1-0 win over Sunderland.

Monk was sacked in December 2017 though, and changed by Tony Pulis who sent the child on loan to MK Dons.

However given that returning, Tavernier has continued to be around Boro’s first-team ending up being an increasingly crucial member of the squad, leading us to this term where he’s been among Neil Warnock’s key guys. Viewing him this season has actually made it easy to forget that he is still simply 21.

With 100 video games for Middlesbrough just recently showing up for the academy graduate, Monk at least should have some credit for identifying Tavernier and setting him on a course towards the more experienced, finer-polished product we see prior to us now.

And when inquired about the flexible forward ahead of Boro’s clash with Birmingham – where Monk worked as Sky Sports’ analyst for the video game – Monk spoke with pride at how Tavernier has developed.

” Marcus has actually done fantastically,” Monk stated. “Marcus was one we took into first-team training. He was one in the academy you could see directly away that there was absolutely capability there.

” Clearly, that requires nurturing gradually, however you might tell even then that he was going to be a first-team gamer.

” He was a little young and immature at that time, however he’s certainly matured and has terrific desire, fantastic athleticism and he’s got an outstanding left-foot on him also.

” The right mindset existed at the time too. There was just the odd time where the concentration wasn’t there all of the time.

” But it’s clear he’s grown into it getting more experience, being around first-team gamers more and playing more games, he’s got the experience now and he’s having a fantastic season.”