AITOR KARANKA has hailed on-song Adam Clayton as a Premier League player in waiting.
The 26-year-old former Leeds United and Huddersfield Town midfielder was outstanding in Boro’s 3-0 victory over the Whites last weekend and has been the model of consistency so far this season - following on from an impressive 2014-15
On his top-flight credentials, Karanka said: “Adam is a Premier League player but he has to keep showing everyone he is.
“To be a Premier League player he has to play in the Premier League. I am sure he can play at that level.
“He is always the balance in the team when the spotlight is on the goalkeeper or the strikers.”
Today sees two form sides do battle at the Madejski Stadium and while Karanka’s men are seeking an eighth successive win in all competitions, he says the run will have no bearing on proceedings today – against a managerial counterpart in Steve Clarke who he rates.
Karanka, who has allowed Dutch winger Yanic Wildschut to join League One side Wigan Athletic on loan, said: “The points are on the table but we have to look forward because the following game is Reading and it will be tough.
“We have to try to win the game and one day we will lose a game. Reading will be like us, fighting until the end.
“Steve has more experience than me in this country. He knows the league.
“He knows the Premier League and he knows more than me.
“It is Reading against Middlesbrough.
“We are both doing well at the moment.”
Boro defender Jack Stephens, on loan from Southampton, has been included in Gareth Southgate’s England Under-21s 25-man squad for the Euro qualifiers with Kazakhstan later this month.