George Boateng's Middlesbrough promotion hope and backing for England boss Gareth Southgate

George Boateng of Middlesbrough
-Credit: (Image: 2004 Allstar)

George Boateng is hoping Middlesbrough can earn promotion back to the Premier League next season - putting his full backing behind Michael Carrick as the right man to make that a reality.

Carrick has this summer agreed a new contract at Boro, committing to the project he's been building on Teesside since his arrival in October 2022. The Boro head coach has made clear that his ambitions next term are to challenge for promotion, with owner Steve Gibson now trying as best as possible to support him in that quest.

The club have already signed two players this summer before pre-season is even under way, and a third in Aidan Morris from Columbus Crew is close. On top of that, keen to build on what they've been growing over the last 18 months, there is said to be a bullish stance on enquiries for key players this summer.

READ MORE: Early transfer work will give Middlesbrough a massive head start on last summer

In an interview with Responsible Gambling, Boateng looked ahead to the new season, saying of Boro: "I'm hopeful for Middlesbrough under Michael Carrick. He is a great leader and he has the support of Steve Gibson too, which creates stability and loyalty that is so important in achieving success.

"The team is building, and they are getting closer every year. Maybe this season they will get there, but it's a very competitive league. I admire the club's efforts and believe, with the continued backing of the dedicated supporters, Middlesbrough can achieve their goals in the near future."

Boateng still keeps a close eye on Boro after spending six years at the club between 2002 and 2008. When joining Boro, he was reunited with his former Aston Villa team-mate Gareth Southgate, who would go on to become his Boro boss and is now, of course, England manager as the Three Lions plot their route to glory at Euro 2024 in Germany.

On Southgate's path to management, Boateng said: "Gareth was a fantastic human being and a knowledgeable player who was highly respected by his team-mates. At Aston Villa, we were both young, but in Middlesbrough, we were together for six years. You could see that he was maturing and becoming a good leader as a captain. I knew he would become a successful manager."

While Southgate's time in charge of England has largely been successful after a World Cup semi-final and European Championship final, he faces scrutiny this summer after their underwhelming start to this summer's tournament that saw them limp past Serbia before drawing against Denmark.

Boateng, however, backed Southgate amid the storm, concluding: "When you’re in a tournament, it's always about qualifying. You first try and get out of the group as soon as you can. Once you get out of the group, now you take every game step by step.

"In international tournaments you can face many challenges such as loss of form, suspensions, and injuries. The key is to progress through the group stage to increase the chances of winning the tournament."