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Boro's fate is all but sealed

Middlesbrough
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Mikel returns to Nigeria squad ahead of Africa Cup of Nations

Nigeria's release of their 25-man provisional squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday was marked by one notable return, that of skipper John Obi Mikel.

The midfielder, 32, has not suited up for the Super Eagles since June of 2018 when the Nigerians were eliminated by Argentina in the group stage of the FIFA World Cup.

There was some uncertainty about whether he would play for Nigeria again, although coach Gernot Rohr left the door open for the Middlesbrough midfielder to walk through...

John Obi Mikel's absence is the elephant in the Super Eagles' dressing room

By the time Nigeria's Africa Cup of Nations training camp rolls around in May, it will have been closing on 11 months since team captain John Obi Mikel last pulled on the Super Eagles strip.

Mikel's post-World Cup absence when he missed the AFCON qualifier against the Seychelles, and then the double-header against Libya, was initially put down to injury.

He was expected to return for the important AFCON qualifier against South Africa in Johannesburg in November, when the Super Eagles secured passage...

Jack Harrison's unconventional path back to the Premier League

New York City FC star Jack Harrison says he's hopeful of more chances to prove himself for England after his recent experience with the under-21s.

AT THE BASE of Mount Everett in Sheffield, Massachusetts, sits a quintessentially New England 400-acre boarding school seemingly ripped from a Donna Tartt novel. Greek-columned administration buildings covered in ivy; a 50,000 square-foot athletic facility boasting squash, basketball and volleyball courts, a dance studio and climbing wall; an ultramodern observatory; an eight-acre, two megawatt solar field that powers the grounds, all encircled by a tapestry of maples, which paint the horizon red-orange...

 By John Duerden

Premier League flop Lee Dong-Gook, 38, dreams of 2018 World Cup

From Premier League flop to South Korean record-breaker, the career of Lee Dong-Gook has reached such lows and highs that it deserves its own ride at the Everland theme park, just south of Seoul.

A legend in Asia and freshly crowned 2017 K-League champion, the man known as the Lion King due to an early hairstyle, never rebuilt his reputation in England after a disappointing spell in the top flight with Middlesbrough.

He arrived on Teesside in Jan. 2007 and told local media that he wanted to "have...

Middlesbrough nightmare as flops sleepwalk to Prem relegation

The excitement of a dream return to the Premier League for Middlesbrough after a seven-year absence soon turned into a nightmare, as Boro limply sleepwalked into relegation.

Rating out of 10: 3

Highlight

Broadly speaking, the return of top flight football and some of the world's best players to the Riverside was a welcome sight for the Teesside faithful.

The opportunity to see their side mix it with the elite was a tantalising prospect, even if it turned sour quite quickly. In truth, Boro were never...

Boro crumble under Liverpool pressure in Premier League swan song

A spirited Middlesbrough side eventually crumbled in the face of relentless waves of unerring pressure from Liverpool, who ran out 3-0 winners and confirmed the return of Champions League football to Anfield next season. Boro racked up their 20th defeat of a deflating and depressing season and will be grateful they can now close this chapter of their history and look to move on to mounting another promotion push from the Championship.

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Positives

Patrick Bamford looked bright and lively with...