Ex-Man United star keeps watchful eye on Bristol Rovers on-loan Middlesborough striker

Josh Coburn netted Bristol Rovers’ equaliser in their 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in midweek.

Michael Carrick has admitted he watched on-loan Middlesbrough striker Josh Coburn on Wednesday evening. Coburn was playing for Bristol Rovers against Sheffield Wednesday.

The 41-year-old is into his first week in charge of Boro boss after being appointed as successor to Chris Wilder. Carrick is due to face Preston North End at Deepdale in his first game as a senior manager in the Championship.

Carrick, who was a legend at Manchester United, had rejected the chance to watch Europe’s elite in the Champions League and instead chose to watch Rovers’ 1-1 draw with the Owls. It was shown on Sky Sports and the ex-Man United midfielder got to see the teenager score the Gas’ equalising goal.

“That’s the ideal scenario for him,” said the new Boro boss to The Northern Echo. “Going out on loan and getting great experience.”

Carrick’s words could be taken as words of encouragement over Coburn’s long-term future at the Memorial Stadium. Wilder was at the helm and greenlighted the temporary exit of the striker. Middlesbrough have a recall option on the forward in January but Joey Barton is hopeful that their patience for him to recover from his injury will allow him to have him for the entirety of their league campaign.

Coburn, dubbed the ‘Teesside Haaland’ by James Belshaw and his teammates, joined on Deadline Day but did not play until a month after he joined after recovering from an injury. He has since gone on to three goals in five matches, picking up five points in games he has scored in.

As for Coburn’s latest effort, the striker took his goal well. Antony Evans found space in the midfield and a through ball deflected off the defenders legs and into the path of Coburn, who dinked his effort over the experienced David Stockdale.

Commenting on his strike, Carrick said: “It was a terrific finish from Josh last night, I was watching it, and you could see how much it meant to him. The joy on his face and that feeling of scoring goals, I was chuffed to bits for him.

“He did really well, and that’s what the aim of going out on loan and getting that experience is all about - going out, playing games when it really matters in the result and there’s something on the line, and being able to cope with that. I was really pleased to see him doing well.”

Coburn’s current club manager Joey Barton was pleased with the performance of the 19-year-old. His strike partner Ryan Loft had to make way and with no recognised forwards on the bench, he had to take up the role of two forward players.

The 40-year-old was keen to put praise on to his goal scorer but wanted to jokingly wanted to keep quiet to avoid any attention of his parent club boss taking note.

“I better be quiet about what I am saying because Michael Carrick has gone in there,” joked the former Newcastle United manager. The last thing we want is them to recall him because he had a period out and we had to be patient with him.

“He had an injury but he has rewarded our patience and he’s really added to our team. I think from a 19-year-old boy he’s got an enormous future.”