May 24, 2024

Rav van den Berg, the youngest first-team player signed by Middlesbrough this summer, has not only played more minutes than all but two of the new arrivals but could easily be at the top were it not for a couple of minor injuries. This highlights two key aspects of the 19-year-old Dutchman’s early tenure at the club – his impressive maturity since joining and the rapid trust he has gained from manager Michael Carrick to become a regular starter at his young age.

Upon joining Boro, Van den Berg turned down offers from elite European clubs like Inter Milan, Dortmund, and Bayern Munich, prioritizing his desire to play football. Despite the anticipation surrounding his arrival, he never displayed a sense of entitlement during interviews, emphasizing his focus on playing, enjoying the game, and developing as a player at Middlesbrough.

Get To Know: Rav Van Den Berg - Middlesbrough FC

Van den Berg admitted he did not expect to play as much as he has, given the transition to a new country, league, and a successful club. Most of his game time has been at right-back, a position he had played only once before joining Boro. Despite the defensive challenges, he has showcased calm and reliability, earning Carrick’s trust and even filling in at left-back when needed.

Under Carrick’s defensive-minded system, Van den Berg’s role at right-back has been more about solid defending than attacking runs down the flank. Despite initial struggles at Plymouth Argyle, he has generally been a dependable presence in the squad, earning high-pressure starts and showcasing defensive stats that place him among the team’s top performers.

Looking ahead, Carrick has expressed a desire to see Van den Berg in a central role more frequently, but competition for positions, especially with Anfernee Dijksteel returning from injury, remains tough. However, based on his outstanding performances, it seems challenging for Carrick to overlook Van den Berg, whether at right-back or center-back.

Regardless of the position, Van den Berg is unfazed, focusing on doing what he came to Riverside to achieve. He has justified the pre-season hype by earning his place on the pitch and looks set for a bright future with Middlesbrough. The coming weeks and months will be intriguing as Carrick navigates the tough competition for defensive spots, but Van den Berg’s impressive start bodes well for his continued success at the club.

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