Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: BACK IN THE SWING; Samba Likely Lads a Midfield Class Act BERNIE'S BOLT

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: BACK IN THE SWING; Samba Likely Lads a Midfield Class Act BERNIE'S BOLT

Article excerpt

Byline: BERNIE SLAVEN

GARETH Southgate has brought back the Samba Style!

Boro will have one helluva season if South American likely lads Julio Arca and Fabio Rochemback can keep this up.

Both midfielders were fantastic against Birmingham last week. They work so well together and they've given the team so much more in midfield.

We've known how good Arca could be for a long time.

It was a master stroke to push him into midfield and he's got better and better.

But the big thing for me is the re-emergence of Rochemback.

There have been times in the past when we wondered whether he could do it on a regular basis.

But to be fair to the lad he has found it difficult to settle and then there has been all this talk about whether he will be going back to Portugal or not.

But the transfer window is closed now, so he is definitely staying, and they tell me his girlfriend is here now, which will play a part as well.

Rochemback was tremendous last week and if these two can keep this up then we are going to be a very creative side.

There's also a lot more competition for places now that Shawky and O'Neil have been signed.

I don't know much about Shawky, but O'Neil has always struck me as a good footballer.

He's British, he's played a lot of games in the Premier League and he can be an instant hit in the problem position on the right - though I've seen him play inside as well.

I thought that George's performance against Birmingham was again quality, but he's not an outside right.

One thing you will always get from George is 110 per cent commitment and if he does lose his place, as people are saying, he'll put everybody ahead of him under heavy pressure.

The great thing about the win against Birmingham was that every one of the players was outstanding.

In fact it was the best team performance under Gareth. That performance epitomised everything that he has been striving for.

I don't think that Birmingham were very good. In fact if they continue to play like that they will be relegated.

But traditionally we have struggled against the lower sides and I hope this performance showed that the trend has finally changed. …

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