Rav van den Berg’s admiration from Michael Carrick, Middlesbrough

Rav van den Berg’s admiration from Michael Carrick, Middlesbrough


The defender only recently turned 19 but after signing from PEC Zwolle in the summer quickly set about impressing head coach Michael Carrick with his qualities on and off the pitch.

Van den Berg is primarily a centre-half but has filled in impressively at right-back – a position he’d only played once before joining – and even slotted in at left-back – a position he’d never played before – in the second half of the recent draw at Sheffield Wednesday.
The Dutch defender is an injury doubt for tomorrow’s game at Watford having been forced off in the second half of the win over Southampton but already looks set to play a major role for Boro this season.
“I’ve been hugely impressed,” said Carrick.

“He’s a terrific individual, really grounded and humble, terrific character and great attitude. He has a real calming influence but quite sure of himself in a really good way.

“I think he told me he’d played right-back once before before Betis when Tommy got injured in pre-season. And he’s never played left-back in his life and ended up playing there against Sheffield Wednesday.

“He just has the ability to do that, he’s a really good footballer, he’s clever, sharp, hungry, he has a great attitude.
“To do that at 19 in a new country and new surroundings is not easy at all. It’s a great sign for him moving forward, it’s all experience for him which I’ve said to him, it’s taking him out of his comfort zone a little bit but he’s dealt with it unbelievably well.”
The capture of van den Berg was seen as quite the coup for Boro in the summer. The highly-rated teenager defender was much sought after and heavily scouted by a string of major European clubs during his time in Holland, with Milan, Dortmund and Roma among those to have been linked.

He chose Boro and turned down the advances of some of those huge clubs because he wanted to increase his chances of playing regular football, an attitude Carrick loves.

“It’s absolutely terrific,” he said.

“The boys, we’d like to think they’re here for the right reasons, to come and play and enjoy their football, to develop in certain ways depending what age they are. It’s really refreshing for someone of Rav’s capabilities and potential, he could have chosen other clubs, bigger clubs if you like.
“He saw something here that he was keen to be part of. We’re delighted to have him and really excited to see how he can fulfil his potential. He’s doing ever so well.”

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