CHRIS WILDER remains confident Martin Payero can be a success at Middlesbrough – although he admits language issues continue to hold the midfielder back as he seeks to establish himself in the Teessiders first team.
Payero was a second-half substitute as Boro returned to play-off positions with a 1-0 win over Coventry City yesterday.
It was only the Argentine’s second appearance under Wilder, and he’s yet to start a game under the current Boro boss.
Wilder admits Payero is still accepting the challenges of life in the Championship, with his limited understanding of English continuing to be a problem. But he is confident the midfielder, who represented Argentina at the Olympics before joining Boro last summer, will be good.
Wilder said: “From Martin’s point of view he’s obviously been in and around but he was a bit unhappy because he was starting at Sheffield United but then that game was called off.
“He picked up Covid and fell with that and then he picked himself up, but it’s a pretty tough and technical way to play that we want, and to get that into a guy whose English isn’t still quite there, although it gets better, is quite difficult.
“He came in and got a few assists and then we scored and changed things up a bit because we thought Crooksy (Matt Crooks) could be better at eight and Martin at six.
“It’s a tough time for Martin and a tough time for us. You’re trying to get a way of playing across to a player who maybe isn’t used to the movement and the intricacies from a possession pressing perspective and from a possession pressing perspective and what we want in possession as well .
To complicate matters further for Payero, he finds himself playing in a part of the field where Wilder wanted to create some stability, and was more than happy with the performances of his first-choice trio of Jonny Howson, Crooks and Marcus. Tavern.
Wilder added: “It’s difficult because midfield three, from my point of view, has been a very successful part of the team. They understand the situation and the movements and how we want to play, and I think that midfield three was arguably the best part of the team.
“That has to remain the best part of the team, and we have to have pressure from Riley (McGree), who we’ll have now, and from Martin as well. I don’t really want to get Paddy (McNair) out of the bottom three, but these boys have to maintain their standards.
” It’s difficult. I imagine a lot of people want Martin to succeed, and so do I. He’s part of the group, he’s someone we inherited, he has a good solid CV and he’s an exciting player.
“But, also, the pace of the game is searing, and something he might not be used to in terms of where he plays. Then there are also the three games a week.
“There will be opportunities open to Martin by the end of the season, and he has to grab them with both hands. He played a part in a result for us and had an impact on the game.