Date: 15th August 2016 at 3:36pm
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After seven years waiting to see their team back in the Premier League, Middlesbrough fans were treated to an all-round positive performance and result against Stoke City.

A stunning free-kick from Xherdan Shaqiri denied Boro all three points on their return to the top-flight, but fans saw plenty to keep them positive.

One thing that fans were keen to see was how the new signings would integrate and while they all caught the eye, the player that attracted the headlines was Alvaro Negredo.

He was pinpointed by a number of fans and pundits as the man to keep the club in the Premier League, and he got off to a flying start to life in a Boro shirt.

Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Negredo took just 11 minutes to open the scoring against Stoke on Saturday – Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

It took the Spaniard just 11 minutes to get off the mark as he headed in a Gaston Ramirez knockdown and his all-round performance was just as impressive.

He tormented Stoke centre-backs Ryan Shawcross and Philipp Wollscheid in the first-half with his determination to chase down every single loose ball and didn’t shy away from the traditional physical style of the Potters’ skipper.

His debut goal endeared him to supporters straight away and his desire to charge down every ball passed back to goalkeeper Shay Given showed fans that he was going to fight for the shirt, something is required if you are going to be a success in the North East.

A number of players impressed in the first game of the season, Gaston Ramirez being one of the stand outs, but the headlines will undoubtedly go to the loan striker after an impressive debut display.

And while there are still doubts over whether Jordan Rhodes and David Nugent can play regularly in the Premier League, Negredo quashed any question marks over his ability.

However, the initial signs are good as the former Manchester City striker looked keen to impress his new supporters and he looked visibly frustrated when Stoke found the equaliser.

The passion he showed impressed supporters and his willingness to continue chasing down loose balls, even when he looked exhausted in the final few minutes, and this work rate will be crucial alongside his obvious quality as Boro hope to finish the season above the bottom three.

If he can continue on the goal scoring trail, as well displaying admirable hold up play, then he is going to be crucial for Aitor Karanka’s survival hopes.

Negredo has the potential to be one of the signings of the season and a player with his record in the Premier League and the rest of Europe makes him a considerable coup for a newly-promoted side.

Obviously there is a long way to go in the Premier League and Boro are going to face teams a lot better than Stoke – no disrespect intended to Mark Hughes’ side – and Negredo is going to need to produce on a consistent basis.

However, if he continues to impress the way in which he did against Stoke, then he’ll be a key figure in Boro’s survival bid.

 
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