Middlesbrough talking points vs Norwich City
Sunday, 31st Jan 2021 16:05 by Phil Spencer
A 0-0 draw is rarely seen as a positive result as far as Middlesbrough are concerned, but this was different.
Travelling to Carrow Road the Teessiders knew that a clash with Norwich City was always going to be a tough test with Daniel Farke's side looking like the dominant force of the Championship this term.
After a disappointing week, Neil Warnock will be delighted with the spirited display that his team put in.
Here are our post-match talking points from the clash with the Canaries.
Darnell Fisher's debut
Supporters can be forgiven for not being hugely excited as this deal was announced on Friday afternoon, but after one match against Norwich City it seems that Middlesbrough have a new fans' favourite on their side.
Put simply, Fisher is the dream signing for Neil Warnock.
Arriving from Preston, the 26-year-old is regarded as a solid defender and a fierce competitor who is more than comfortable at Championship level.
From a tactical point of view he seems like an ideal fit for Middlesbrough, but it's his no-nonsense approach to the game that has really got fans onside.
Strong in the tackle and sharp with the tongue, the full-back gave his opponents a rough old afternoon - the main recipient being Todd Cantwell.
Cantwell is regarded as one of the top talents in the Championship but barely had a kick against Middlesbrough new signing as he followed him all over the pitch to his frustration.
While debuts have to be kept in perspective there's little doubt that fans are looking forward to seeing more of Fisher in the coming weeks and based on that display we can look forward to seeing a lot more in the way of bullying displays.
He was the main event as far as Middlesbrough fans were concerned at Carrow Road and Yannick Bolasie certainly put in an encouraging display.
Asked to lead the line, Bolasie cut an isolated figure for much of his 60 minutes on the pitch, but we did seems hints of what he has to offer.
With pace to burn the 31-year-old showed great movement that caused plenty of issues for the Canaries' backline, while he was even able to carve out a couple of decent opportunities for himself.
To say that he was rusty was an understatement but considering he was playing outside of his natural position I'm sure that fans will be happy enough and will look forward to seeing more as his conditioning improves.
A frustrating day for Djed
While it was excellent all-round performance from Middlesbrough against Norwich, Djed Spence was still on the receiving end of criticism.
The full-back has struggled for form of late and that has led to certain sections of the fanbase to get on his back.
But let's put this in perspective.
At just 20 years of age there's plenty of room for development.
The honest truth is that Spence isn't ready to play the disciplined role that's needed to feature at right-back under Neil Warnock.
That's why we saw him playing a slightly more advanced defensive winger-type role against Norwich - a position that he looked much more comfortable in.
It remains to be seen where Warnock sees Spence playing in the long run, but as it stands he's in a sort of limbo by not being a first choice in either position.
Whether a loan move could be the best short-term solution to help him learn a bit more about thriving in the professional game, I'm not sure, but either way I think we learned that his chances of playing in Middlesbrough's back four is going to be limited.
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