Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Rocky's Rocking

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Rocky's Rocking

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Paylor With The Boro In Stuttgart

Fabio Rochemback is ready to make his European debut for Boro tonight - and prove that his stunning performance against Chelsea was no flash in the pan.

The Brazilian midfielder has been given permission by UEFA to play against VfB Stuttgart in the Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion and is raring to go, according to manager Steve McClaren.

Rochemback was forced to sit out the first half of Boro's UEFA Cup campaign, having played for Sporting in both the Champions League and this competition early in the season.

But the 23-year-old has been given the green light for the remainder of the tournament and McClaren enthused: "I am delighted for Rocky.

"It was difficult for him early this season when he played for us in Premier League matches and then had to drop out for the UEFA Cup ties.

"He has terrific experience of European competition and we know that from first hand because he played so well against us.

"Now he's available and not only will he enjoy the opportunity to show what he can do, but it's a bonus for the rest of the team."

Rochemback took a long time to settle into English football following his summer transfer from Barcelona, but his quality performance against Chelsea took the breath away.

McClaren said: "I think we saw the signs at Coventry that Rocky was starting to find his feet.

"Then he was man of the match against Chelsea and that typified his attitude. He can be a very important player for us in the next few months."

Rochemback trained with Boro on the Gottlieb-Daimler pitch last night and, although the temperatures will dip towards zero, McClaren is expecting another strong display from the whole side tonight.

In fact the manager believes that the atmosphere within the squad has improved dramatically since the win against Chelsea.

He said: "This game is all about confidence. We've always had the ability but it's been difficult at times for it to come through.

"Scoring that first goal against Chelsea made a huge difference in terms of confidence.

"Now I expect the team to be up for a lot more games between now and the end of the season. …

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