Adama Traore will face off against former club Aston Villa on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers winger goes into the game full of confidence after a brilliant start to the 2019/20 season.
Traore has two goals and six assists so far, and will hope to add to either tally against the Midlands club, where he spent the 2015/16 season before joining Middlesbrough.
Traore did not have the most fruitful spell at Villa and only made 12 appearances for the club.
Despite his struggles, he left an impression on two of his teammates Alan Hutton and Lewis Kinsella, who have been speaking about the player ahead of the teams’ Carabao Cup clash.
Hutton said (quotes published by The Birmingham Mail): “He was so frustrating but so good. It kind of sums him up – he goes by people like they’re not there and then he’ll try to bust the net and the ball would go wild.
Kinsella added: “Tim [Sherwood] and the coaching staff tried to use his speed in both aspects, in attacking and defending, and I don’t think they quite got through to him. The boys got frustrated and I think he got frustrated in himself as well. But as soon as he’s gone to Wolves it looks like the manager has got the best out of him.
“I remember trying to block his path once and I ended up 10 yards away on the grass – with Bodymoor Heath’s grass in my mouth. I bounced straight off him.”
TBR’s view – Traore could come back to haunt Villa
Traore was a rough diamond during his time at Villa, and his game still does need refining even now.
But he’s improved immensely recently and could well wreak havoc against his former club.
He’s faced Villa before as a Middlesbrough player, but this time around he is a totally different proposition and if he plays, then Villa will hope to keep him in check as best they can.