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Coaching Staff

AITOR KARANKA
Head Coach

FORMER Real Madrid assistant manager Aitor was appointed head coach on November 13 2013 after agreeing a two-and-a-half-year contract.

Karanka, Boro's first foreign No 1, worked under Jose Mourinho at the Bernabeu and was widely regarded as one of Europe's brightest young coaching talents. Mourinho has said: "Karanka was my assistant for three years and I know him very, very well. I think whatever club gets him, in England or in another country, will be a lucky club." He left Real Madrid in summer 2013 on the arrival of Carlo Ancelloti, who took over from Chelsea-bound Mourinho. Before joining their coaching staff, he was manager of the Spanish U-16 team.

He also represented Real Madrid as a player, making 93 appearances for them between 1997 and 2002 and winning the Champions League in 2000 when they beat Valencia 3-0. The Vitoria-born defender started with Athletic Bilbao and returned for a second spell with the Basque club after leaving Madrid before finishing his career in the USA with Colorado Rapids. Karanka won a single cap for the Spanish senior team, having played 14 times for their U-21 side. He also represented Spain in the 1996 Olympic football tournament, where they reached the quarter-finals, and also played for the Basque country team.

CRAIG HIGNETT
Assistant Head Coach

BORO legend Craig Hignett returned to the club as Assistant Head Coach to work alongside Aitor Karanka in March 2014.

Craig was on the club's Academy coaching staff before joining neighbours Hartlepool United as Colin Cooper's right-hand man in summer 2013. Merseyside-born Hignett, a goalscoring midfielder in his playing days, joined Boro from Crewe Alexandra in 1992 and quickly established himself as a crowd favourite. His name will forever remembered as scorer of the first goal at the Riverside, in a 2-0 win against Chelsea.

A deadball specialist, fine passer of the ball and natural finisher, Hignett ended his first spell by scoring two goals in a 4-1 win over Oxford United at the Riverside on the final day of 1997-98 season to guarantee Boro promotion to the Premier League. He later played for Aberdeen, Barnsley, Blackburn and Leicester City.

LEO PERCOVICH
Goalkeeper Coach

FORMER Uruguay international keeper Leo joined Boro in December 2013, shortly after the arrival of Head Coach Aitor Karanka.

In his playing days Leo represented Nacional, where he was a Copa Libertadores and Uruguayan First Division winner, Atlético Mineiro, Guaraní FC, Fluminense FC, Alianza de Lima and Racing de Ferrol, as well as winning six caps for his country. He has previously coached at Stuttgart, Pachuca, Cruzeiro, Valencia, Real Madrid, Colorado Rapids, Chivas USA, Toronto FC and most recently Chicago, as well as the Brazil, France and Uruguay national teams. Holder of a UEFA Pro coaching licence, Leo met Karanka when they played together in the US Major League.

CARLOS CAHADA
Fitness Assistant

CARLOS has previous experience in Turkey and with Portuguese clubs Uniao De Leiria and Vitoria Setubal.

He joined Boro upon the arrival of Spanish Head Coach Aitor Karanka in November 2013. 


David Parnaby

DAVE PARNABY
Academy Manager

A FORMER Physical Education teacher from County Durham, David made his name in football through his work with England schoolboys. 

He spent 22 years in teaching and was coaching England at under-15 level before joining Boro and also managed non-League Gateshead. He is now in charge of developing young players from nine to 21. In 2004 he and Mark Proctor took the side to the FA Youth Cup final for the second successive year, this time winning the trophy for the first time in the club's history after beating Aston Villa. 

He has been the key figure in developing Boro's justified reputation as one of the most successful Academies in British football, with a production line which has included England international Stewart Downing, Lee Cattermole, Andrew Taylor and David Wheater, plus a host of players now making a living in the game at other clubs.