Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Gareth May Not Need to Splash out to Solve Midfield Problems

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Gareth May Not Need to Splash out to Solve Midfield Problems

Article excerpt

Do the answers lie

MIDFIELD minefield ( or problem solved?

Gareth Southgate gave himself plenty of fresh food for thought as Boro produced one of their better efforts this season in the middle at Wigan.

The centre of the pitch has long been Boro's biggest problem area, and one that needs most attention in the summer.

But the all-Latin central pairing of Fabio Rochemback and Julio Arca as a partnership for the very first time is certainly worth another chance.

The Rochemback-Arca link-up meant that George Boateng was accommodated in what for Boro was a new role on the right.

Boateng did well, but surely it's not a long-term solution to the position which has caused most headaches in team selection this season. Now Southgate must again be reviewing all his options.

The chequebook is at the ready, but if any problem position can be solved from within, then all the better.

Southgate said: "Fabio and Julio have done very well in the middle of midfield and I thought they would enjoy the opportunity to play together.

"The two of them are both very, very comfortable on the ball and both of them played very well."

Arca, back in the starting line-up following injury, was again the star performer in the middle at Wigan.

The Argentine is one of the players Southgate will be building his new-look side around next season.

Rochemback, who might have returned to Sporting in January, is back in favour in a big way and ( at this moment in time ( looks set to play his part again next term.

Nobody should believe that Boateng does not have a role to play, especially as he is such an infectious competitor. The gritty skipper may not have enjoyed his best season on Teesside, but his combative spirit is still a key factor in the squad.

The manager was pleased with the way in which the experiment worked at Wigan, saying: "George has played plenty of football on the right at Coventry so it's a position he knows quite well. …

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