Marten de Roon has been presented with Boro's PFA Community Champion award for the 2016/17 season following his contributions to the club's officially charity, MFC Foundation.
The Dutch international, who moved to the club last summer from Atalanta, has been a significant contributor to MFC Foundation’s community events, especially those involving education and enterprise for young adults.
During his visits, De Roon has joined in a charity bike ride at the Cleveland Centre, addressed a National Citizen Service (NCS) cohort at their graduation ceremony, greeted supporters on one of the Foundation’s fantastic VIP Tours of the Riverside, and helped coach a disability football team.
The 26-year-old received his reward from four pupils of Abbey Hill Academy in Stockton, a school for children with both disabilities and learning difficulties, after Saturday’s final home game of the season against Southampton.
The children, Maddie, Jordan, Lucy and Chad were part of MFC Foundation’s ‘Raise Your Game’ programme in partnership with Teesside Park. The programme aims to engage and inspire young people to achieve their best in the world of work, by using sport, and more specifically the brand and business behind a professional football club.
On receiving his award, De Roon said: “It’s nice that you do something small for the club, especially for young people, and you get something back. For everything we do it’s a small thing, but for the fans it’s a big thing.
“It’s honestly for me not about the award, it’s about doing it for the community, but I appreciate it and it’s a very nice thing to have. I’m happy I can be part of the community in this way.”
De Roon, who recently paid a surprise visit to a young Boro fan's house, says he has been taken by the passion of the people of Teesside.
“The people are really proud of where they are from, so you want to give something back to that.
“We haven’t had the best of seasons, but the supporters are always there clapping and cheering for us, and that says a lot about this area.
“They always support Middlesbrough and the area no matter what, and that’s what makes them so special.”