Another summer brought about yet another rebuild for Boro and nudged the club ever closer to fielding the hundredth different player to turn out for the club in a league game since relegation in 2009. Twenty players were allowed to leave the club in the summer months, thirteen of them with varying degrees of first-team experience and seven of them youngsters unable to break through into the senior set-up.
Aitor Karanka wasted little time in stamping his authority on the squad when taking over last season and that has continued into this summer, with twelve players arriving at the club either permanently on loan. Over the coming weeks it is almost certain, barring serious injury to one of the new recruits, that one from Jelle Vossen, Yanic Wildschut, Ryan Fredericks, James Husband and Jamal Blackman will become the one-hundredth player to play a league for the club in since August 2009 upon making their Boro debut.
As it stands the club has used ninety-eight players since relegation and while this may seem like relative small-fry when compared to Fulham, for example, who have used over fifty players since Felix Magath was appointed manager in February of this year, it is safe to assume that that figure of ninety-eight would’ve been much higher had it not been for the difficulty in shifting out several of the high-earning players sighed by both Southgate and Strachan.
As well as that, there is a clutch of young players who’ve made a first-team debut and then skirted around the edges of the squad for several years afterwards; Adam Reach, Seb Hines, Richie Smallwood, Cameron Park, Luke Williams and Andy Halliday are perhaps the most notable examples. The club have fielded 18-20 debutants each season since relegation and you do wonder how long that lack of continuity can continue.
Perhaps most eye-catching statistic for Boro is with regards to the strikers turning out for the club over the past five years and the success, or lack of it, that they’ve enjoyed in front of goal. Boro have fielded twenty different strikers since relegation, including Luke Williams, Kike, and Patrick Bamford, though they have scored a total of just one hundred and thirty-six goals between them in that time.
Of those strikers, only Scott McDonald(2010/11 and 2012/13), Marvin Emnes(2011/12) and Leroy Lita(2010/11) have reached double figures in a single season, though Albert Adomah(2013/14) and Adam Johnson(2009/10) have contributed double figures from attacking midfield positions. Considering how much money the club have invested in their striking options over the past five years, for them to only return double figures on four occasions stands out as being particularly poor.
With all of these statistics in mind it seems clear that what the club needs now is a period of sustained continuity. Aitor Karanka has been backed on a quite incredible level by Steve Gibson and it is imperative, with Financial Fair Play and a stadium that stands almost two-thirds full for league games on a regular basis, that Karanka shapes his recruits into a successful second tier side with an eye on the mid-to-longer-term. Boro cannot go on fielding around 18-20 new players each season and expect to achieve promotion because the logistics of the division render that nigh-on impossible these days.
It is an exciting time for the club with so many new players on the scene, and there will be a lot to be optimistic about if Karanka can settle everything down and get the lads defending like they were during the second-half of last season, but the need for this particular rebuild to work is particularly pressing for Boro’s long-term aspirations and prospects.
Over to you, Señor Karanka.
98 players have turned out for the club in league football since August 2009.
22 players from the academy set-up have made at least one league appearance.
23 different nationalities have been represented.
56 players have scored at least one league goal for the club since August 2009.
17 different nationalities have scored at least one goal.
136 league goals have been scored by Boro strikers since relegation.
31 players have signed on loan since August 2009.
4 loan signings have gone on to make their moves to Boro permanent.
23 players have signed for the club on a free transfer.
Danny Coyne, Shay Given, Carl Ikeme, Brad Jones, Dimi Konstantopoulos, Jayson Leutwiler, Tomas Mejias, Connor Ripley, Paul Smith, Jason Steele.
Damia Abella, Joe Bennett, George Friend, Jonathan Grounds, Justin Hoyte, Tony McMahon, Kyle Naughton, Stuart Parnaby, Frazer Richardson, Andrew Taylor.
Daniel Ayala, Matthew Bates, Andre Bikey, Christian Burgess, Andrew Davies, Ben Gibson, Maxi Haas, Seb Hines, Robert Huth, Matt Kilgallon, Stephen McManus, Kenneth Omeruo, Emanuel Pogatetz, Chris Riggott, Sean St.Ledger, David Wheater, Rhys Williams, Jonathan Woodgate.
Julio Arca, Nicky Bailey, Jacob Butterfield, Nathaniel Chalobah, Adam Clayton, Didier Digard, Willo Flood, Faris Haroun, Grant Leadbitter, Malaury Martin, Josh McEachran, Bryn Morris, Gary O’Neil, Isaiah Osbourne, Barry Robson, Richie Smallwood, Mickael Tavares, Kevin Thomson, Joszef Varga, Josh Walker, Dean Whitehead.
Albert Adomah, Sammy Ameobi, Muzzy Carayol, Kieron Dyer, Jonathan Franks, Andrew Halliday, Adam Hammill, Adam Johnson, Tarmo Kink, Emmanuel Ledesma, Alex Nimely, Emilio Nsue, Jay O’Shea, Cameron Park, Adam Reach, Lee Tomlin, Luke Williams, Mark Yeates, Merouane Zemmama.
Jeremie Aliadiere, Patrick Bamford, Marcus Bent, Kris Boyd, Marvin Emnes, Caleb Folan, Danny Graham, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Kei Kamara, Kike, Chris Killen, Dave Kitson, Leroy Lita, Curtis Main, Scott McDonald, Ishmael Miller, Lee Miller, Bart Ogbeche, Tuncay.
*There are several players who have featured in a match-day squad of eighteen without making it onto the field of play; Dave Atkinson, Ryan Brobbel, Mark Kitching, Adam Jackson and Paul Weldon. Jordan Jones, Bradley Fewster and James Husband have made appearances in the cup competitions but are yet to feature in a league fixture for Boro, whilst Andre Bennett was an unused substitute in a League Cup tie at Oldham Athletic. A further five players – Jamal Blackman, Ryan Fredericks, James Husband, Jelle Vossen and Yanic Wildschutt – are awaiting their league debuts for Boro.
McDonald(37), Emnes(24), Lita(21), Robson(18), Adomah(12), Leadbitter(12), Carayol(11), Johnson(11), Jutkiewicz(11), Ledesma(8), Boyd(6), Graham(6), Haroun(6), Main(6), Bates(5), Miller I.(5), Williams R.(5), Aliadiere(4), Ayala(4), Bailey(4), Kink(4), O’Neil(4), Tomlin(4), Wheater(4), Williams L.(4), Arca(3), Butterfield(3), Franks(3), Friend(3), Hines(3), Kamara(3), Killen(3), Kitson(3), Martin(3), McMahon(3), Ogbeche(3), Reach(3), Smallwood(3), Taylor(3), Zemmama(3), Dyer(2), Hoyte(2), Kike(2), McManus(2), Tuncay(2), Ameobi(1), Bennett(1), Bikey(1), Chalobah(1), Flood(1), Gibson(1), Grounds(1), Halliday(1), St.Ledger(1), Whitehead(1), Woodgate(1), Yeates(1)