Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Davies Glad to Be Back at Boro

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Davies Glad to Be Back at Boro

Article excerpt

Byline: DAMIAN SPELLMAN

Middlesbrough defender Andrew Davies is revelling in his European adventure after admitting he feared he might never play for the club again, writes DAMIAN SPELLMAN.

The Stockton-born 21-year-old thought his Boro career was over when he was farmed out on loan to Derby, but amid an injury crisis he was recalled to the Riverside Stadium and handed his Uefa Cup debut in Stuttgart on Thursday.

Davies barely put a foot wrong as Boro survived a first-half storm before clinching a 2-1 victory at the Gottlieb-Daimler Stadium, and now he is hungry for more after winning his reprieve.

"I just enjoy pulling that Middlesbrough top on," he said. "I really didn't think I'd pull it on again, to be fair, especially not this season, so I'm delighted with that ( but even more with the lads getting a win. I feel when I come in, I do a decent job, especially when I'm playing at right-back ( I haven't played there for God knows how long.

"But playing for Middlesbrough, I'll play anywhere. That's what I enjoy doing and that's what I want to do for a long time."

Davies got his chance after full-back Abel Xavier was handed an 18-month drugs ban and Ugo Ehiogu damaged his hamstring days after his move to West Brom fell through last month.

With Stuart Parnaby moving to midfield, Davies replaced him at right back but never looked out of place as a young squad ( five of the seven substitutes were aged 19 or under ( came through a stern test.

"It's fantastic," he said. "One minute I'm playing in the Championship and the next, I'm playing in the Uefa Cup. It was quite a surprise for me and for some of the other young lads here, but every time we come in and play, I always feel we do a job, so we are obviously not out of our depth."

Manager Steve McClaren was delighted with Davies' performance, one which justified his decision to send him out on loan to gain experience, a policy which also paid off handsomely with winger Stewart Downing two seasons ago. …

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