Championship outfit Middlesbrough have taken a step in a new direction by appointing little-known Spaniard Aitor Karanka as their new manager.
He becomes Middlesbrough's first ever non-British manager and appears a real risk as, despite serving three years at Real Madrid as assistant to Jose Mourinho, he has no management experience of his own.
Karanka, 40, has been out of work since the summer when the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti at the Santiago Bernabeu saw him lose his place on the coaching staff.
Karanka replaced Tony Mowbray, with the former Celtic manager having left the club last month. Mark Venus has been in temporary charge since then.
After being announced to his new role, Karanka told BBC Tees: "It is my time, I know I am ready. I've worked for three years with Jose and he was supporting me every day and I learned so much.”
He joins the club at a crucial time, with 'Boro lying 16th in the table, caught between the battles for relegation and promotion. Boro languish in mid-table, just five points off of the relegation zone but only eight points adrift of the play-off spots.
The play-offs will be the brief for Karanka, as Middlesbrough fell short of their dream return to top-flight football under Mowbray and Gordon Strachan.
With mostly draws and losses so far this campaign, 'Boro have just 16 points from their first 15 fixtures. Thus, the simple way forward is to exert more forward pressure, turning draws into wins.
On a wider scale, this appointment is illustrative of the changing face of the British game, with influences from Spain especially becoming more prominent.
With 10 days until their next fixture due to the international break, new 'Boro boss Karanka will have time with the majority of his team and he will hope to impart his ideas upon them and change their fortunes ready for his managerial debut against Leeds.
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