Middlesbrough interim boss Steve Agnew impressed by midfielder Marten de Roon

Marten de Roon of Middlesbrough during the Premier League match against West Ham United
Image: Marten de Roon has impressed Middlesbrough interim boss Steve Agnew

Middlesbrough interim head coach Steve Agnew has been impressed by Marten de Roon since he took over at the Riverside.

The Dutch midfielder, a £12m summer signing from Atalanta, scored the only goal in the win over Sunderland on April 26 and Agnew is delighted with his contribution so far.

"He has come from Italy, which is slightly different in terms of the style of play, a little bit more defensive, and we have changed his position," Agnew said ahead of Boro's trip to leaders Chelsea, live on Monday Night Football.

"He's been more of an attacking midfield player this season in many of the games he's played and he's a real threat, as you have seen with the number of goals he has scored in the Premier League this season.

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"He's been excellent. It's hard to single out players. Marten has scored a few goals, so has Alvaro [Negredo], but I think the contribution throughout the squad has been terrific.

"They didn't quite get the rewards in terms of the win against Manchester City [the game ended 2-2], but playing against a top team and actually having to try to get back-to-back wins in the Premier League is something we were very, very close to and haven't achieved all season."

Agnew takes his side to Stamford Bridge knowing they could be nine points from safety by the time they kick off and in need of a victory to have any chance of Premier League survival.

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Key to Chelsea's success this season has been midfield enforcer N'Golo Kante, who is hoping to be part of a title-winning team for the second year in a row after he played a crucial role for Leicester last season.

Kante's form this campaign has earned him a nomination for the PFA Player of the Year award and Agnew acknowledged how crucial he is in making Chelsea tick.

"He's been absolutely top-class. He's the one player who knits it all together - he did it for Leicester last season," added Agnew.

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"Any successful team, it's all about balance, whether it's physical attributes of quick players and big players, or whether it's technical players.

"He's had an excellent season - well, he's had two seasons where he has been different class."

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