Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: ALL RIGHT NOW... Problem Flank Is a Thing of the Past BERNIE'S BOLT

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: ALL RIGHT NOW... Problem Flank Is a Thing of the Past BERNIE'S BOLT

Article excerpt

Byline: BERNIE SLAVEN

WE'VE got it right!

It was a relief to see Boro beat Fulham in what was a massive win for us - and climb above the Magpies at the same time.

All eyes were on Afonso Alves, but the thing that struck me was how strong we looked on the right hand side.

I've been saying for five or six years that we needed to get the right flank sorted and, finally, we've done it.

I thought Luke Young and Gary O'Neil were terrific against Fulham, and they've been getting better together as the season has gone on.

Young is looking an absolute snip at pounds 2m. He's got great engines, he's a good passer and he gets through a lot of work at the back.

O'Neil also has good engines and is always busy supporting attacks.

It's great to see stability there, but funnily enough we seem to have lost a little on the left.

I've always said that our left flank was much stronger than the right. Now it's the other way around.

We need to see Emanuel Pogatetz and Stewart Downing linking up in the same way as Young and O'Neil, but it's not happening on the same level.

Don't get me wrong. I think Pogi is a top player and thoroughly committed when he takes the field.

But his distribution is not the best and he needs to be picking out Downing more, rather than making clearances upfield.

I know that Andrew Taylor is on his way back after an operation, but he's a few weeks away yet and, even then, Pogi won't give up his place without a fight.

And if Pogi starts linking up with Stewy that bit better, it will be even harder for Taylor to get back in.

Obviously there doesn't look a way back into the middle for Pogi at the moment.

He was our player of the season last year and rightly so, but now he faces a new challenge from this season's player of the season so far, David Wheater, and Robert Huth.

The two of them are getting better as a unit in every game and are going to take some shifting.

It's taken time, but Huth is starting to look the part.

I wasn't sure about him when he was at Chelsea, even though he didn't play many games, and when he came here he was injured. …

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