Dael Fry waves flag for Teesside

Sunday Sun - - Football -

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.

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