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Middlesbrough stopper signs season-long loan deal with Gateshead

Steve Waston has landed his man
Steve Waston has landed his man

Gateshead have signed goalkeeper Aynsley Pears on a season-long loan from Championship side Middlesbrough.

The 20-year-old impressed during a similar spell at Darlington last season and has been high on Steve Watson's wanted list this summer.

He has also featured regularly for Boro's under-23 side in recent years, and also played in some of the club's pre-season friendlies this summer.

Five clean sheets in seven games at Darlington last season helped Pears earn a place in the England under-20 squad that took on Poland.

The stopper, son of former Boro legend Stephen Pears, also made the bench for Middlesbrough's Carabao Cup clash with Aston Villa in 2017.

Pears becomes the second goalkeeper to join the Heed during the summer transfer window, following ex-Hartlepool United goalkeeper Mark Foden through the door as Watson's squad undergoes a rebuild.

The deal to bring Pears to the International Stadium took some time, but Watson is delighted to get his man.

“Aynsley is someone that we’ve been trying to bring in all summer, he’s a very good young goalkeeper,” he admitted.

“He’s had experience in the league below so unlike a lot of young goalkeepers, he’s used to the physicality and the rigours of this type of football that we’re going to embark on this season.

“We’re delighted that everything is over the line and as I say he’s been on our radar all summer."

“It’s a relief that everything is complete and I’m looking forward to seeing him play,” added the former Newcastle man.

“It’s taken us a while to get this one over the line as Middlesbrough rate him very highly, they obviously want to be careful and make sure that they’re sending him to the right place.”