Middlesbrough boss Southgate: Academy remains important

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate says he won't lose focus on the strength of the club's academy.

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Southgate will point to the emergence of Stewart Downing and David Wheater as evidence that local talent will be allowed to thrive.

He also insisted that the club's scouting network will continue to scour the globe for promising young talent but is adamant local lads will still prosper if they prove their worth.

Southgate said: "It's important for us to keep the Academy going. We have had fantastic success both in terms of getting players into the first-team and in the last couple of years, moving players on, which has brought revenue into the club.

"I firmly believe we have got the best Academy in the country and it is important for us that we keep that going.

"The challenge is greater and greater for young English players now because clubs will recruit from around the world, but we hope to give them the best possible chance at our club."

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