sport

Interest mounts in Friend

Sky Sports understands several Premier League and Championship sides are tracking Middlesbrough defender George Friend.

Friend is entering the final year of his current deal at Middlesbrough and as yet no new deal has been agreed.

The news has alerted a host of clubs with the likes of Queens Park Rangers, Crystal Palace and Reading all keeping tabs on his situation at the Riverside.

Friend has established himself as a key player at Middlesbrough since arriving from Doncaster in the summer of 2012.

The versatile defender, who can play centre-back or left-back, is regarded as one of the best defenders outside the Premier League and was named Middlesbrough's Player of the Season last term.