Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Dressing Room Inquest after 2-0 Defeat against Toon

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Dressing Room Inquest after 2-0 Defeat against Toon

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHON TAYLOR @JonathonTaylor1

MIDDLESBROUGH Under-23s launched a dressing room inquest following Monday's drab 2-0 defeat at North-east rivals Newcastle.

Despite having three first-team players in the starting XI, Boro's second-string were well-beaten at St James' Park as goals from Sean Longstaff and Yasin Ben El-Mhanni condemned the Teessiders to a fifth straight league defeat.

First-team captain Grant Leadbitter played the full 90 minutes as he continues his comeback from a hernia operation, along with fringe pair James Husband and Carlos de Pena, and all three were included in a frank discussion after the final whistle.

A deflated Boro U23s boss Paul Jenkins kept his side in the Tyneside changing room for nearly half an hour after the game - as plenty of opinions were aired.

"We've gone through everything with a fine-tooth comb in the dressing room," Jenkins said.

"We spoke to the lads and we included Grant in the conversations because he's an experienced professional, the captain of our football club and it's good to get his perspective on things.

"We've had a good chat and tried to finish on some positives, and we have to go again as there's a busy schedule coming up over the next three weeks.

"We opened the floor and had some honest conversations in there, but it was trying to be constructive to the young players. Grant is 30 and has had a journey himself, so we had a chat about that.

"Ultimately, our job is to get the next one through into the first-team.

"That was the message in the dressing room - who will be the next one? And if the players don't think they might be at the moment, what are they going to do to make sure they are? "Yes we're fielding teams and having games at this level, but our main priority is to get the next one into our first-team. That's our sole priority and that always has been the case."

Back from a five-month lay-off, captain Leadbitter played the full 90 minutes on Tyneside, adding to the 27 minutes he clocked up for the first-team during Saturday's 2-0 win over Bournemouth.

Jenkins revealed the 30-year-old wasn't pencilled in to play the full match, but was full of praise for the skipper's attitude. …

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