Boro predicting Alves impact

24 April 2008 11:23
Middlesbrough's first-team coach Colin Cooper has backed record signing Afonso Alves to take the Premier League by storm next season. The £12million Brazilian has endured a slow start to life in England following his arrival from Dutch club Heerenveen in January. Alves has scored in just one of his 11 appearances for his new club - a brace against Manchester United earlier this month - but has been tipped to make more of an impact next season. "I think the fans will see him take more and more opportunities the more acclimatised he becomes and the more sharper and fitter he becomes," Cooper told the Middlesbrough Gazette. "And if we get him to the end of the season and next season get him a really good pre-season under his belt, I think we will see a lot more of him. "We'd have loved him to play 90 minutes every week since the first week he came in. "But very quickly it became apparent it was going to take time for him to settle in and to acclimatise and get some training and minutes under his belt. "He was very excited about starting against Manchester United and the major contributions he made in the game were outstanding. "We watch him every day in training and we know he's a top-class finisher."

Source: ESA