Steady former Sunderland midfielder Whitehead wins Mowbray approval at Middlesbrough

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MIDDLESBROUGH manager Tony Mowbray hailed Dean Whitehead for the former Sunderland midfielder’s debut display.

Whitehead helped Boro beat Portuguese club Farense 1-0 on Thursday, and showed his grit when involved in a flashpoint first-half incident.

“Dean is steady,” said Mowbray. “I don’t think he’ll ever get anyone out of their seats but he does a good job for the team, breaks play up, passes it simply and keeps the ball moving. He’s also got a bit of fire in his belly, as we saw in one incident.”

Fellow newcomer Jozsef Varga also made his bow. Mowbray, whose side return to Teesside tomorrow, added: “There’s a lot more to come with Jozsef. In a game like (Thursday) you can see he’s playing within himself but in the footage I’ve seen he can be very combative and fast across the ground. He kept the ball moving and balanced well with Grant (Leadbitter) in midfield.”

H Blackpool winger Thomas Ince has rejected an £8million switch to Premier League new boys Cardiff City.

The 21-year-old, who became a father on Thursday, has opted to stay at Bloomfield Road for now. Cardiff said that Ince did not “want to leave his family or the Seasiders at this stage of his life”.