Middlesbrough boss keen to get Alves match fit

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate is eager to get record signing Afonso Alves match fit.

Southgate said: "Just by training with the rest of the team, he will pick that fitness up.

"He had a break in Holland over Christmas, and then he had two weeks where Heerenveen knew he was going to be moving on, so they did not want him training with the rest of the team.

"Already over the last couple of days, we have seen an improvement in him.

"It will need a bit of time because if he was fully fit, coming from the Dutch League to the Premier League is a still a big difference.

"We have got to be patient with him, and also from my point of view, the team is getting results anyway and it is important that the players who are in that team realise how valuable we feel they are."

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