Middlesbrough captain George Boateng has told young defender David Wheater to use fellow academy graduate Stewart Downing as his role-model.

"We have so many injuries but we are blessed that Wheater is doing so well - above everybody's expectation, otherwise we would have massive problems," said Boateng. "It shows how quickly football can change. It is pleasing for all the younger players in the Academy. They know that if they work hard and perform well then they will get a chance.

"A great example for me is Stewart Downing. He stands head and shoulders above anyone that has come through the Academy.

"His approach, his mentality, his work-rate and his football - it's phenomenal. He for me is a great example to anybody who wants the opportunity to look up to somebody."