Middlesbrough: Mowbray sees benefit in blooding youth

Tony Mowbray

Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray believes Christian Burgess, Ben Gibson and Bryn Morris will benefit from the experience of Saturday's 2-0 defeat by Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.

Mowbray handed Burgess a debut, while Gibson and Morris were given rare first-team outings.

"It gave them the experience of a 30,000 crowd and the expectation that carries," Mowbray told BBC Tees.

"I wouldn't be critical of them, I thought they did well."

Burgess, 21, joined Middlesbrough last summer having been a student at Birmingham University but had been with Arsenal's academy as a junior.

Gibson, 20, was on loan at League One side Tranmere this season while Morris, 17, made his bow in the FA Cup third round tie against Hastings earlier this year.

While their play-off hopes were intact, Mowbray had been reluctant to bring academy talents into the first-team, but has relaxed that approach since promotion became unattainable.

"It'll be a benefit to them. When young players play in big atmospheres it gives them the understanding of what it takes to be a professional footballer.

"You have to stand up to intimidation, put your body on the line and be strong mentally, and all of those things will have been learned.

"While they won't have enjoyed the result, they will have enjoyed the atmosphere of playing in a big game and hopefully will grow mentally tougher because of it."