Dael Fry waves flag for Teesside
FEW Boro players have worked harder to justify their places this season than Dael Fry.
The 21-year-old Middlesbrough-born defender appears to have matured dramatically in the opening weeks of the campaign.
Fry could easily have been pushed out of the reckoning when Boro brought in £6m defender Aden Flint during the summer.
However the early season injury suffered by Daniel Ayala and Tony Pulis’s switch to three centre-backs has given Fry the opportunity to stake his claims in a big way.
Arguably he has never played better than he did in the top of the table clash at Leeds United two weeks ago.
In fact Fry was widely considered to be the best of the three Boro centre-backs on the night.
Fry’s superb club form has enabled him to make further progress on the international scene and he is now a regular member of the England Under-21 squad.
However he was an unused sub as the Under-21s beat Latvia last week to move within one point of qualification for the European Championships.
The sale of home grown Ben Gibson to Burnley during the summer was disappointing for many Boro fans, but Fry continues has taken over flying the Teesside flag.
Another Boro hopeful who has taken full advantage of the international scene is teenager Marcus Tavernier.
The 19-year-old, who enjoyed a dream work-out with the full England squad last weekend, played for England Under-20s in their 3-1 defeat in Holland last week.
Earlier Tavernier had been drafted in to train with Gareth Southgate’s senior England squad at St George’s Park. He was called up to the big stage because Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana withdrew from the squad through injury and Southgate needed players for a training match.
Tavernier has stepped up to under-20 level after playing for the under-19s in the European Championships in Finland during the summer.
He is currently on the fringe of the Boro first team having played as a substitute on three occasions, in addition to starting both Carabao Cupties.