Southgate turns to youngsters to lift Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate is confident his youngsters will drag the club out of trouble and lay the foundation for future success.

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The Teessiders host Aston Villa on Saturday having ended a run of five successive defeats with hard-fought draws against Tottenham and Bolton.

The former England defender has had to utilise the club's renowned academy and he is convinced those youngsters can do a job for him.

Southgate said: "We do not have a great deal of experience in the side, but we are fortunate we have young players with fantastic attitude and spirit and a real steel and determination about them.

"They give the club a real heartbeat, not only now, but for the future.

"You succeed or fail as a collective. You might get a moment of individual brilliance that wins you a game or gets you a point from a game.

"But we are a team and everyone in a team has to perform.

"We know we went into the season with a small squad in terms of senior players but you can pick holes in anything when you are in the situation we are in," he said.

"What you have to do is remember what your team is good at, keep a level head about things, not be distracted by any number of things which, when things are not going well, become an issue.

"If a team is playing well, all those issues are overlooked but, understandably when results are not so great, then you can search everywhere for the answers.

"We know we are a young squad, we know we are a small squad - that's what we are. We have to get the maximum out of that, and that's what we are attempting to do."

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