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Chris Wilder keen to help new signing Matthew Hoppe turn his career around

Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder is keen to work with new signing Matthew Hoppe (Rhianna Chadwick/PA)
Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder is keen to work with new signing Matthew Hoppe (Rhianna Chadwick/PA)

Chris Wilder wants to help Matthew Hoppe turn his career around after the USA international became Middlesbrough’s latest summer signing.

Hoppe has signed a four-year contract at the Riverside after leaving Spanish side Mallorca, and was presented to the home crowd ahead of Boro’s 1-0 defeat to Barnsley in the Carabao Cup.

The striker scored a Bundesliga hat-trick with Schalke after moving to Europe from the youth ranks at LA Galaxy, and while his time in Spain did not really go to plan, Wilder is looking forward to working with the 21-year-old.

The Boro boss said: “He’s come in as a development striker on a four-year deal. He’s a US international and he’s got a decent pedigree and background. He maybe lost his way a little bit, but he’s gone for decent money in the past.

“There’s been quite a bit of talk around him, and we know how difficult it has been to find players and sign them, with big numbers on. He’s one that we can develop and work with, and he’ll get better.

“He’s not going to come in on Sunday and lead the line and score a hat-trick, that’s one thing for certain. He needs work, and we need to find out from a conditioning point of view where he’s been and what he’s done. That will take time, but the boy wants to come.”

Hoppe watched his new employers lose to League One opposition as Josh Benson’s stoppage-time strike earned Barnsley a surprise win to set up a second-round game with Yorkshire rivals Leeds.

Barnsley boss Michael Duff said: “I think it was a real team performance. We’ve had to ride our luck at times, but you don’t come away to a team of this stature without that.

“The thing we’ve been labouring a lot is togetherness, hard work and spirit because it can get you a long way in football. All those sorts of things gave us an opportunity to jump on a mistake at the end.

“There’s a lot of players who have not had many minutes, and there were people going down with cramp, but they keep each other at it, they stuck together and that buys you that moment.”