Position: Central Midfield
Date of Birth: December 29th 1990
Place of Birth: Middlesbrough, England
Previous Club(s): None
Middlesbrough have been as productive as any club in the last decade at producing local-born players at first-team level. It’s a decision made partly by choice and partly forced by financial issues, but any young talent coming through the academy at the Riverside Stadium knows they’ve got a chance of making it. Leading the way from the current group is tenacious midfielder Richie Smallwood.
A clever and intelligent force in the middle of the park, he likes to get hold of a game, have it go through him, and get forward at any opportunity. He’s good in the air and a strong tackler, which when brought together makes him a complete midfield package to reckon with at youth and reserve level.
To get to the next level, the England Under-18 international needs to work on his range of passing, which can be both limited and profligate, and fill out a little physically, but he has the advantage of being at a club who will give him a chance probably earlier than most others would.
Smallwood started the season by signing his first professional contract at the club, keeping the local boy on Teesside for another three years. He has continued impressing at Reserve level, and will hope to push on over the next twelve months.