Mikel Arteta decided to loan out Folarin Balogun at half-time of Arsenal’s League Cup match against Sunderland, according to a report.

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND: Folarin Balogun (R) of Middlesbrough in action with Krystian Bielik of Derby County during the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Derby County at Riverside Stadium on February 12, 2022. (Photo by Nigel Roddis / Getty Images)
MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND: Folarin Balogun (R) of Middlesbrough in action with Krystian Bielik of Derby County during the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Derby County at Riverside Stadium on February 12, 2022. (Photo by Nigel Roddis / Getty Images)

Football.London report that Mikel Arteta’s decision to loan out Folarin Balogun was instigated by the striker’s first-half performance for Arsenal against Sunderland.

The manager was reportedly frustrated by Balogun’s failure to track back in that opening 45 minutes, and he decided the player needed to go out on loan to gain experience.

Balogun did exactly that, joining Championship outfit Middlesbrough until the end of the season.

If Arteta’s biggest gripe with Balogun relates to the striker’s workrate, perhaps the most recent quotes from Chris Wilder can provide some encouragement.

Speaking after Balogun’s sixth appearance for Middlesbrough, and his first league start, Wilder said: “I thought they’d gas themselves out after about 60 or 70 minutes, and Azza and Flo [Folarin Balogun] kept going because they got that game under their belt.

“At the top of the pitch, you have to start the press and you want them to run forward. Both were really bright and they were a constant threat all afternoon for the centre-halves.

“It was good, they got hold of the ball. Their work rate was fabulous and I wanted to bring them off at the end and I know what sort of reception they would have got.”

Folarin Balogun provides an assist for Middlesbrough against Derby County (Photo via Boro on Twitter)
Folarin Balogun provides an assist for Middlesbrough against Derby County (Photo via Boro on Twitter)

Balogun had to wait a few games for his first opportunity in Middlesbrough’s Championship starting lineup, making four substitute appearances first.

In those four appearances, Balogun had played 96 minutes and provided one assist for a winning goal against Coventry City. He then had the chance to show what he could do from the off against Derby County this weekend.

The Arsenal striker was part of a strong Middlesbrough performance, as they raced into a 3-1 lead by half-time. He had to wait until the 89th minute for a goal contribution of his own, but it was worth the wait.

With the clock running down, Balogun pressed a defender into a mistake, nicking the ball off him in the penalty area.

The striker then cleverly executed a backheel flick to Duncan Watmore, who scored from close range. A nice assist to reward his own hard work on the day, which will surely please Arteta.

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