Folarin Balogun provided a backheel assist for Middlesbrough on Saturday, keeping his positive early loan form going on his first league start.

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)

Arsenal loanee Folarin 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. Balogun then cleverly executed a backheel flick to Duncan Watmore, who scored from close range.

https://twitter.com/alexcmfc/status/1492541905053306881

Balogun ended the match with an 80% pass accuracy and two chances created, as well as having three shots of his own. He’s still waiting on his first goal, but he’s settling in nicely so far.

You can watch the full highlights from the game here.

Manchester United's French defender Raphael Varane (L) vies with Middlesbrough's English striker Folarin Balogun (R) during the English FA Cup fourth-round football match between Manchester United and Middlesbrough at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on February 4, 2022. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY / AFP via Getty Images)
Manchester United’s French defender Raphael Varane (L) vies with Middlesbrough’s English striker Folarin Balogun (R) during the English FA Cup fourth-round football match between Manchester United and Middlesbrough at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on February 4, 2022. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY / AFP via Getty Images)

Though Saturday’s start was Balogun’s first in the league, he had also featured from the start in Middlesbrough’s FA Cup win away to Manchester United – playing 62 minutes that day.

Middlesbrough face Tottenham Hotspur in the next round, so he’ll be hoping for a similar outcome again.

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