Belfast Telegraph

Key players for Middlesbrough in clinching return to Premier League

Middlesbrough secured their return to the Premier League after a seven-year exile when they drew 1-1 with Brighton on Saturday to clinch the second automatic promotion spot.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at five men who played significant roles in dragging the Teessiders back into the top flight.


Greece international goalkeeper Konstantopoulos has had his critics this season after a couple of high-profile errors, but he been otherwise hugely dependable and his 22 clean sheets laid the foundation for Boro's success.


Spanish defender Ayala has been a rock for the Teessiders and it was little coincidence that the club enjoyed a mid-season wobble during his his two-month injury absence between February and April.


Local boy Gibson, the nephew of chairman Steve, has formed a formidable central defensive partnership with Ayala and provided a link with the fans, from among whose ranks he emerged.


Not the biggest name in a midfield boosted by the summer return of Stewart Downing, Clayton has nevertheless worked tirelessly alongside Grant Leadbitter to provide a shield in front of the back four and a supply line for the men in front of him.


Wide-man Adomah appeared to be on his way out of the Riverside Stadium in August after a difference of opinion with head coach Aitor Karanka, but his reintegration has been richly rewarded with a series of high-octane performances which have enhanced the club's cutting edge.


From Belfast Telegraph