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Middlesbrough 5-0 Reading: Player Ratings

Ross' take on the Royals' individual performances in a horrid display at Boro.

Middlesbrough v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - Riverside Stadium Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

Dean Bouzanis: 4

Bouzanis only gets to play a few times a year, and if he continues to be defended in the way he was today he might wonder if it’s worth the bother. Dean didn’t do a whole lot to impress today and conceded five goals but, admittedly, he faced an xG of 4.21.

That included having to face two penalties. He went the wrong way for the first after doing some creative dancing to try to put the taker off. Got a hand to the second penalty but couldn’t stop it from rolling under him. Elsewhere he found himself faced with a one-on-one in the box, a cross tapped home from a few yards out, and a shot in the box. Not easy pickings.

Andy Yiadom: 3

In five minutes of play, Yiadom miscued his first touch when he had an opportunity to shoot just outside the box, and then gave away a penalty with a sloppy handball. The captain has had great games this season, but this wasn’t one of those.

He can have few complaints about the penalty. As much as the sight of a player holding their arms behind their back has become a little absurd in recent years, leaving your arms wide of your torso just gives the referee an opportunity.

Moved forward reasonably well when allowed to but just didn’t look sharp today.

Amadou Mbengue: 3

Alert if a little erratic early on as Middlesbrough spent a large period of time in front of Mbengue’s net. He defended well initially but struggled to find his way out of his own third.

While he was sold short by a poor delivery into the box by Ince, it’s hard to argue Mbengue didn’t give away Reading’s second goal. His poor touch near the halfway line left the ball on a platter for Ramsey to intercept and streak unguarded into Reading’s box.

A day to forget for Mbengue, but he wasn’t alone in that.

Naby Sarr: 4

The muscle of Reading’s defence today, Sarr did well early on to get across and block a dangerous-looking shot from Boro early on.

As the game went on though he was completely overwhelmed by the pace of Middlesbrough’s attacking passes, and he often found himself bypassed. Despite that, he made the most defensive actions of any Reading player today as potentially the least ineffective of Reading’s defenders.

Was lucky not to concede yet another penalty when he stepped on Archer’s toes as he burst through the box.

Tom McIntyre: 3

In the early stages as Reading held their shape, McIntyre did well when confronted with a Boro player looking for a cross into he box.

As the rout continued through the second half though McIntyre found himself completely unable to stop most attacks from entering the box. Worse still, his passing was below his usual standard today, with him misplacing a third of them.

Jeff Hendrick: 4

Was reasonably accurate with his passes today in midfield despite a few notable exceptions. That said, he just doesn’t solve Reading’s primary issue of not being able to get the ball effectively to their forwards, and he was totally bypassed by Boro’s midfield whenever they wanted.

Cesare Casadei: 4

Buzzed around in the midfield nicely early and made himself a nuisance as Boro tried to build through possession in the early stages. Provided some energy that’s often been missing from Reading’s midfield this season but faded quickly once Boro ran away with the game.

Perhaps unlucky to be withdrawn for Fornah but wasn’t changing the game.

Yakou Meite: 4

Played out on the right again, Meite was clearly given the instructions to run with the ball when he could, and boy was he given sparingly few opportunities.

Meite failed to provide any accurate crosses into the box today, and his only shot on goal was blocked before Steffen had to intervene. A subdued afternoon in an afternoon full of such performances.

Tom Ince: 4

Hurried around the midfield and made a difference with his legs and his passing when he could but was limited due to Boro’s possession.

Probably Reading’s best player overall on a day when the bar was set extremely low, but has to be marked down for the shocking quality of his deliveries into the box today. His set-piece deliveries from long range rarely got close to a target, and the failure of one just before half time to beat the first man saw Mbengue put under pressure by Ramsey, and Reading conceding.

Shane Long: 3

Just struggles to affect games in this team which is a real shame. You wonder if it’s more down to the player or the role he’s being asked to play (Shane Long is not a left-sided forward). When you get so few flashes of anything from him for weeks on end though it is hard to see how that changes.

He probably should have had a penalty (Paul Ince certainly thinks so) when he almost got through on Steffen’s net in the first half, but you’d rather see the Irishman take a few extra steps to put that in the back of the net.

Long touched the ball just 13 times today and was withdrawn for Azeez, an actual winger, in the second half.

Andy Carroll: 4

Hurtled around the pitch as he does and recorded the only shot Reading had that I would consider to be a reasonable chance, but ultimately had just as frustrating an afternoon as the rest of us.

Muted in attack, Carroll did at least make himself involved with linkup play elsewhere when he could, and helped Ince progress the ball down the field a few times.

The unpopular Geordie on Teeside also contributed with four clearances today, but when you’re praising a striker for their value in defensive clearances, you really are scraping the bottom of the barrel.


Tom Holmes: 4

Good to see him back but could do precious little to affect a game that had gone long before he entered the field. Got himself booked and gave away more fouls than he winbacks of the ball.

Hopefully there’s better to come from Tom as he makes a full return.

Femi Azeez: 4

Not that he was expected to change a game that was gone when he came on, but Azeez failed to record an accurate pass today and touched the ball just 4 times in 23 minutes.

Tyrese Fornah: 4

Brought on against a midfield that had kept the ball very well at 0-0, Fornah was never going to see the ball much when Reading were 4-0 down. Was accurate with his passes when he did see the ball and only gave it away once, but again: the game was long gone.

Lucas Joao: 4

Showed some eagerness when the ball came near him today, but had no chance to affect the game in his 15 minutes, touching the ball just three times.

Nesta Guinness-Walker: N/A

Guinness-Walker was the only Reading player to record 100% pass accuracy, win all of his duels, and he even touched the ball more than Femi Azeez in less than half the time. Good on you lad.

Should probably start at left back over Tom McIntyre.

Average: 3.46/10

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