Mac beams over Boro babes
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Steve McClaren has again hailed the impact of Middlesbrough's young stars.
Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren has again hailed the impact of the plethora of youth stars that have made it through the club's academy and into his first team squad.
Although McClaren has never been shy about spending big since taking charge at The Riverside, he has also blooded a host of young players making Boro's academy the most productive in The Premiership.
So far this season - Brad Jones, Stuart Parnaby, Matthew Bates, David Wheater, Andrew Davies, Tony McMahon, Andrew Taylor, James Morrison, Stewart Downing, Jason Kennedy, Lee Cattermole, Adam Johnson, Ross Turnbull, David Knight and Danny Graham - have all tasted first team action - leading McClaren to believe that the future of the club is very good.
"When you are building a football club at one end you are trying to get success straight away, which we have done by bringing in senior players and foreign players too, but underneath that we are looking to the future," he explained.
"We have introduced 11 or 12 academy players who have all played in the first team and we believe in that.
"It was something I wanted to do when I came to Middlesbrough and we are doing that.
"They are all English, and all living within a 20-mile radius of Middlesbrough as well.
"We have got one of those groups which only comes around very few times.
"We have to nurture them and see them through right because they have got a lot of potential."
While England's left side continues to be a problem - McClaren has a similar headache but for much different reasons as Adam Johnson's emergence is now seeing him push Stewart Downing for a regular berth.
"Downing emerged last season and we have got a bright future with Adam Johnson as well. We know we have a little diamond there," he added.
"We know we have to handle him right, and he has great character."
McClaren was speaking after Boro's defeat at Charlton on Sunday, which saw a host of notable performances from the club's youngsters.
"It bodes well for the big games coming up that I know I can play the likes of Taylor, Davies, McMahon and Johnson in the team because of the performances they have given."
Mark Viduka, who scored at The Valley, was also quick to praise his young team-mates.
"We might have lost but there were many positives to take out of the game," he told the club's website.
"I thought the youngsters who came into that side were absolutely magnificent.
"Tayls and Johnno were brilliant. Andrew was outstanding all game. Obviously he is more accustomed to left back but his passing and ball-winning all afternoon was superb.
"Adam ran rings round the defence at times and was a constant threat throughout the game. I was very proud of them and both have a big future."
One real negative note from The Valley was that Tony McMahon looks set to be sidelined for a few weeks after suffering knee ligament damage following a poor challenge from Bryan Hughes in the opening minutes of the Premiership clash.