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Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka and Stewart Downing in training ground row - Sky sources

Stewart Downing during the Premier League match between Everton and Middlesbrough at Goodison Park
Image: Stewart Downing has been left out of Boro's last two matchday squads

Stewart Downing and Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka were involved in a training ground row last week, Sky sources understand.

Downing is understood to have questioned why he was left out of Middlesbrough's squad for the 2-0 Premier League loss at Stoke the previous weekend.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka  during the Premier League match between Everton and Middlesbrough at Goodison Park
Image: Karanka's side are 19th in the Premier League

The former England winger is believed to be frustrated by his lack of first-team chances this season, having started 13 matches for the Teessiders this term.

Downing and January signing Patrick Bamford were both left out of Boro's 18-man matchday squad for Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Manchester City.

Patrick Bamford in action against Accrington
Image: Patrick Bamford has yet to start a Premier League game since joining Boro from Chelsea

During his post-match press conference, Boro boss Karanka - who also benched Alvaro Negredo and Gaston Ramirez against City - appeared to question the desire of some of his players some of his players.

He said: "Now in the difficult moments I need 18 fighters in my team.

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Aitor Karanka insists he still has Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson's support, despite the club dropping into the Premier League relegation zone

"Where the players show me that they are ready to play and they are fighting and they are going to fight for the club is on the training ground every day.

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"I am with them every day and on Friday, I will always choose at least 18 fighters."

Middlesbrough have failed to win any of their last 10 Premier League matches and are second from bottom in the table.

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