Aitor Karanka has hailed the attitude of club captain Grant Leadbitter after the skipper scored his second goal in consecutive starts against Sheffield Wednesday.
Having sustained an injury towards the end of last season, Leadbitter has worked his way back to full fitness and made his first start against Manchester United on New Year's Eve.
The midfielder put Boro ahead with the opening goal at Old Trafford and was back in the starting XI against The Owls when he found the net again to break the deadlock with a terrific free-kick.
"I've always said that Grant is the kind of player that has helped me a lot since I arrived here," said Karanka. "In the best moments and the worst.
"I'm really pleased because he's showing everyone now. The most important thing for me has been his attitude.
"He has shown that even when he's not played he's the captain and the character in this squad. Now he's had his chance and taken it."