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Middlesbrough manager Carrick preaches patience for Matthew Hoppe


Matthew Hoppe has had to sit patiently for his opportunity with English Football League Championship side Middlesbrough, and although manager Michael Carrick would love to use him more in his squad, the longtime midfielder is pleased with what he’s seen from the American forward.

Hoppe has made only three appearances since Carrick’s arrival at the Riverside Stadium, logging 28 total minutes in victories for the club. The 21-year-old was acquired in August from Spanish club Mallorca, but has mainly featured for Middlesbrough’s Under-21 side over the past two months.

Hoppe’s long-term role remains unknown with Middlesbrough fighting for promotion back to the English Premier League, but Carrick has enjoyed Hoppe’s preparation for when his time comes.

“He’s [Hoppe] done well since I’ve been here,” Carrick said in an interview transcribed by the Yorkshire Post. “We’re obviously fortunate to have good options at the top end of the pitch.

“You would like to give everyone more opportunities and more minutes really, but it’s not always possible. But he’s trained really well and he’s a really good lad. He’s been terrific in training, so he’s just got to be patient and like the rest of them, be ready for when you get that chance. Everybody so far has.”

After an impressive debut Bundesliga campaign with Schalke in 2020-21, Hoppe has struggled to earn consistent opportunities in Spain and England, sitting behind more experienced forwards at Mallorca and Middlesbrough. However, he has delivered five goals in five appearances for Middlesbrough’s U-21 squad, including two tallies in Monday’s 7-5 victory over Sunderland.

The U.S. men’s national team forward could be forced to accept a loan spell in January in order to gain consistent minutes elsewhere, especially with Chuba Akpom leading Middlesbrough’s front line. For now, Hoppe will continue training with Middlesbrough’s first team and be ready for anything as the second-tier club continues its busy 2023 schedule.

Fifth-place Middlesbrough hosts sixth-place Millwall on Saturday before visiting rivals Sunderland on Jan. 22.


  1. There are things I like about Hoppe’s game, and there are things he needs to improve upon. I haven’t seen him play for a while, so can’t say how he’s progressed since leaving Schalke.
    Positives: Plays with a chip on his shoulder (Dempsey like), which I think the USMNT could use at times. Is a poacher but also able to create his own chances. Has the physical tools (height, speed, strength) to be a decent CF. A very direct player who gets into good spots that is able to finish.
    Needs work: Hold-Up play, when to hold the ball and allow teammates to join the attack. 1st touch is a little off, not as bad as Dike but not as tight as we’d like.
    Interplay, his passing can be a little shaky.

  2. You have to wonder where his development would be if he would have just remained with Schalke. I don’t know the circumstances around his departure but if he pushed it that may have been a mistake – looking back at it.

  3. Last 4 matches for Mid II 7-5, 1-8, 2-4, 2-5. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of defense played in PL2 Div 2. Just about every team
    averages two or more goals. Fernandez of Leeds is the golden boot leader with 11g and he has 1 EPL min and 2 cup appearances.

  4. i’ve been suggesting hoppe to houston dynamo fora for a couple years. ditto konrad. they are both gifted raw players in need of some playing time and some sandpapering. what he needs is a team excited enough to have him, with an attacking coach, willing to spend the time with the sandpaper. here’s when to take people on and when not to. here’s when to just hit a cross in. here’s some runs to make. we kind of talked like when we wanted to promote a swashbuckling type but reyna got benched and these 2 just got cut.

    what he needs is some to invest in him personally. i take “blessed with [other] good options” and “he needs to have patience like the rest of them” to be non-specific and underwhelming. you could say that about anyone with a first team roster number. that’s not, “i have a plan for him,” that’s not “i like his qualities but need to do some work at which point maybe he’s ready.” that’s, he’s a guy on the team provided to me and wait and see. patience doesn’t sound like he’s playing next weekend which was his same problem at mallorca. time to come home or move down a notch to someplace like scandinavia or austria. get some PT and confidence. this is a waste just so he can say he’s in spain or england while his career dwindles away.

    • I agree. He’s clearly shown some real ability, but obviously there’s some holes in his game if he’s struggled to get PT at his last two clubs and Gregg similarly did not seem sold despite a very good Gold Cup. Sometimes you gotta move back to move forward…I mean, see Haji Wright. How many clubs in Europe did he go through before he found his feet?

      Some guys are young phenoms. Most of them have to grind and really don’t peak until they’re on the other side of 25. But you’re absolutely right – he could badly use some investment, some PT, and some scuffs on the paint to build character. Hard to get better if you aren’t playing.

  5. Clear to me that if Hoppe has scored 5 goals in 5 games for the U21 team then he is clearly ready to contribute to Boro’s first team.

    • Not necessarily.

      I’m not sure about what the level of competition. is for the U21’s. Some of their opponents may not be that focused on winning but are more about rehabbing injuries or developing younger players and the like.

      Carrick said there were players in front of him on the first team so that has LOAN written all over it.

    • i think you’re both half right. he’s ready to play someplace and clearly not rusty or off song. it’s carrick’s loss he won’t try him. but carrick is the boss so until there’s a change he might as well move on, loan, sale, someplace else. i realize U21 can be a hodge podge of veteran B teamers, prospects, injury rehab, but if you’re hitting .300 with 20 homers in AAA, you’re ready to be playing and producing someplace, even if it’s another big league team or japan, if you follow the metaphor. and ironically the better he’s playing the more i’d say he needs the heck out if carrick won’t play him. what else can he do in this situation?

      • “you’re hitting .300 with 20 homers in AAA,”

        By themselves, those stats aren’t that noteworthy in AAA. Which it is why it matters when you have someone who is really interested in you keeping tabs on you. They might realize how, in your case, those stats are a big deal.

        You keep trying to find ways to indirectly evaluate players but in the end it’s always a case by case basis.

    • Middlesbrough’s striker Akpom is leading the Championship in goals with 13. Middlesbrough have been on a good run since Carrick took over and I they doubt wants to change much at the moment.


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