Middlesbrough boss discusses out-of-favour former Millwall midfielder George Saville

GEORGE Saville is still in Middlesbrough's plans despite the former Millwall midfielder not starting in the league yet this season, according to his boss Jonathan Woodgate.

Saville, 26, has started just 28 out of 44 league games since his £8million move from south London last season.

He has featured just twice as a substitute in the Championship this campaign, his only start coming in Boro's humiliating EFL Cup first-round defeat at home to League Two Crewe.

Saville was a regular in the Millwall side, scoring 10 goals in the 2017-18 season and earning his first caps for Northern Ireland.

"He's an eight, he's not a holder, he's an eight," Woodgate said in Boro's pre-match press conference on Friday. "How many holders do you see scoring 10 goals? So that tells you it all. If you look at his stats at Millwall he played in a two but he was the one who always got box-to-box.

"He's a box-to-box player who will get you goals.

"He played all over [last season] maybe because of the squad imbalance from our team. With the centre-halves getting injured he had to play wing-back or he had to play in a holding role or an advanced role. He's a clever enough player to do that, George.

"He's been really good, really good. I had a chat with him the other day and just told him to keep on going."

"I know more or less my best team I'd say but it's early days.

"Lewis Wing didn't play in August last year and now he is a mainstay in the team. Players who aren't playing now need to use Lewis as an example, look at where he was in August, not playing. Paddy McNair didn't even play last season and now he is one of our best players."

"Those on the outside need to keep pushing to make those changes, the Savilles, Johnsons, Rudys, they are giving me food for thought."

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly