Gareth hopes for Boro babes
Gareth Southgate is confident Boro's youngsters will shape up well over the coming season.
Last Updated: 01/08/08 3:35pm
Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate is confident the club's latest batch of youngsters will shape up well over the coming season.
Boro have one of the most productive and successful academies in Britain and Southgate can already boast a first-team squad of which over half is home-grown.
Now Southgate has high hopes for the likes of Joe Bennett, Jonathan Franks, Graeme Owens, Rhys Williams and Nathan Porritt - all of whom have impressed during pre-season.
"Whether we can continue to produce the numbers we have consistently is open to question," said Southgate.
"You inevitably have some years where the crop are more talented than others.
"But already in this pre-season we've seen people like Joe Bennett, Jonathan Franks, Graeme Owens, Rhys Williams and Nathan Porritt, and Jason Steele was away with England and we think he has a very big future.
"There's a lot of talent, and sometimes that talent just needs an opportunity. These lads know they will get a chance with us.
"There are seven substitutes in the Premier League next year so more of them will have a chance to be with the squad."