Southampton defender Jack Stephens has been recalled from his loan spell at Championship side Middlesbrough.

The 21-year-old joined in the summer and the intention was for him to remain at the Riverside stadium for the whole season. However, at the halfway point in the season, Stephens had made only five appearances for Boro, only one of them coming in the league.

He featured in every game of Middlesbrough’s impressive Capital One Cup run which took them all the way to the quarter-finals, where they were defeated by Premiership side Everton 2-0. In Boro’s Cup run, they pulled off the impressive feat of knocking out Premier League giants Manchester United at Old Trafford, winning 3-1 on penalties after the game had finished as a stalemate after extra time.

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Southampton manager Ronald Koeman justified to the press his decision to recall the Englishman.

Jack is back from Middlesbrough. He wasn’t playing there and then why is he on loan if he doesn’t play? It’s better for him to come back.

Middlesbrough currently sit top of the Championship, having been the pre-season favourites for promotion.