Former Middlesbrough midfielder Marten de Roon has told the Dutch media about the difficulties he encountered last season.
The Netherlands international recently returned to his former club Atalanta after just one season with Middlesbrough.
Speaking to Ad.nl, De Roon was quizzed about his experiences playing in the Premier League last season with Middlesbrough. Perhaps surprisingly, given the support he received from Middlesbrough fans, and the gratitude shown even after his exit, De Roon has chosen to take a few snipes.
“To watch, the Premier League is great, because a lot happens. The speed and intensity played are not comparable with any other competition. But I missed the tactical discipline. Everything is about power. Outside the top 6, tactical ingenuity fell. I like to think about football to defeat an opponent.
“It wasn’t a fun year. There was a split in the group between the Spanish and English speaking boys. We weren’t a close team and we didn’t grow together.”
De Roon joined Middlesbrough from Atalanta last summer, following the club’s promotion to the Premier League. However, the Dutchman wasn’t able to prevent the club dropping back down to the Championship after a miserable season.
That left the midfielder wanting to leave, explain AD, regardless of him insinuating earlier this summer that transfer rumours were a shock to him.
“It was preferable to go back to Italy or a country like Spain. I had no problems with the people in England and speaking the language makes it easy. But the quality of life is higher in Italy. The food, the weather, the coffee. The mentality is very relaxed, and so am I.”
De Roon was brought in by Aitor Karanka, but the Spaniard was sacked in March, with Middlesbrough facing relegation.
Middlesbrough fans had hoped De Roon would stay and help the club get back to the Premier League at the first attempt, but the player’s poor performance against Wolves showed many that wasn’t likely to be the case.