Aitor Karanka: Middlesbrough boss 'justified' in Adama Traore approach

Adama Traore
Adama Traore moved to Middlesbrough from Aston Villa in a swap-deal involving Albert Adomah

Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka says his approach to selecting winger Adama Traore is justified.

Fans have taken to the winger, 20, who has made nine appearances following his move from Aston Villa in August.

However, only five have been starts and he played just nine minutes as a sub against Southampton on Sunday.

"With him on the pitch, after 20 seconds Southampton had a chance," Karanka told BBC Tees. "That's the sort of thing that people don't see."

Karanka added: "I have to check every single thing, I know he had an impact, but Adama's game can't be a highlight of 40 seconds, it's got to be 90 minutes."

The Spanish forward, born to Malian parents, began his career at Barcelona and made four first-team appearances before his £7m switch to Villa Park in August 2015.

Boro, who have scored a division-lowest 13 goals in 15 games, are waiting on the return of versatile forward Gaston Ramirez and striker Alvaro Negredo from injury.

Whether either feature on Wednesday against Liverpool, or are potentially rested until the visit of Swansea on Saturday, is a quandary for Karanka.

"It's a balance, to try not to take risks but to put the best players on the pitch," the Spaniard added.

"I can't reserve a player for Saturday thinking that they're not ready to play on Wednesday, because this is an important game for us.

"I will try to put out the best 11 [for Liverpool] thinking they're the best for that game, not thinking about risk of playing on Saturday."