'I rate him as the best midfield player in the league' - Warnock hails former City star

Emiliano Buendia of Norwich and Jonathan Howson of Middlesbrough in action during the Sky Bet Champi

Jonny Howson (right) has been described as the midfielder in the Championship by Boro boss Neil Warnock. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock has hailed former Norwich City favourite Jonny Howson as the best midfielder in the Championship after the 32-year-old signed a one-year extension to his contract in Teesside.

Howson's contract was due to expire next summer but the Yorkshireman has extended his deal after a series of impressive performances for Warnock's side.

He recently played his 150th game for the club and has become a popular figure amongst the Boro fans since arriving at the Riverside Stadium from the Canaries in 2017.

The midfielder has been deployed in numerous roles during his time in the north east, noticeably as a right-back and central defender last season. His performances helped Boro beat the drop and saw him claim the Supporters' Club 2020 Player of the Year last season.

Middlesbrough Manager Neil Warnock during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Riverside Stadium, M

Middlesbrough Manager Neil Warnock during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 21/11/2020 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Speaking to the club's official website, Warnock said: “I’m just delighted. It’s another step in the right direction for the club. Jonny has had an outstanding time since I’ve been here. 

“I’d go as far as to say that I rate him as the best midfield player in the league at the moment which I might not have thought before I came to the club. 

"I've always thought he was half decent when I've played him but I never thought he was inspirational like he is.

Middlesbrough's Jonny Howson and Norwich City's Lukas Rupp battle for the ball during the Sky Bet Ch

Middlesbrough's Jonny Howson and Norwich City's Lukas Rupp battle for the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough. - Credit: PA

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"To me, he's just got better and better since I came to the club.

“I only see him getting better in the next couple of years so it’s great for the club that he’s put pen to paper.”

Howson made 188 appearances for City in a five-year period for the club, with the majority of his time at the club being in the top-flight. The former Leeds United man scored memorable goals against Manchester City and Nottingham Forest during his time in Norfolk.

Jonny Howson will face Norwich City for the first time since leaving on Tuesday. Picture: Paul Ches

Jonny Howson will face Norwich City for the first time since leaving on Tuesday. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Despite being moved around and playing out of position for Boro under former manager Jonathan Woodgate, Howson is flourishing again as a midfielder under the experienced Warnock.

“There’s been ups and downs while I’ve been here, but at the moment it’s going well and when you’re wanted somewhere it’s really nice to stay longer.

“His (Warnock's) impact is there for everyone to see.

“Results on the pitch have picked up and when things are going well everything goes with it. We have to keep focused and keep doing the things that we’ve been doing.”

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