Lea Siliki: How I lost my place at Middlesbrough after Afcon and change of manager

James Lea SilikiGetty

James Lea Siliki discussed how he couldn't become a regular in the Middlesbrough first team after the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Cameroon international was loaned to the Riverside Stadium following his inability to tie down a regular place in Rennes' squad.

At Teesside, the midfielder was initially a regular in Neil Warnock’s squad – featuring in 10 league games between September to November 2021.

However, he lost his place in the team under new manager Chris Wilder and was demoted to Middlesbrough’s U23 squad.

Following his return to Rennes, the 26-year-old talked about his frustration during his spell in England.

“I arrived in a great dressing room, but from a sporting point of view it was more difficult,” Lea Siliki told Rmcsport as per Getfrenchnews.

“My commitments to the national team came almost parallel with playing for Middlesbrough – there were periods when there were club matches at the same time.

“At the last meeting with the national team, we changed coaches. The team had started playing well – and when I came back, I was sidelined.

“But this experience made me learn about myself and how I responded to a difficult situation."

Even with his experience at Boro, the Indomitable Lion has no regrets about choosing England ahead of the Spanish league. Instead, he counted his gains.

“You should never regret it. It’s a choice that I accept and an experience that I will keep as positive,” he continued.

“I repeat it, but it is important. I wanted to go there, nobody forced me. I’ve come back as a physically different player.

“I have increased my volume in the high intensity of English football. There are good things about this loan.

“I usually give feedback on the sessions to my brother and every day I tell him that I'm running.

“We do that but we end up getting used to it because the English Championship is a very intense championship. I gained muscle too, but strangely I refined myself.”

With Lea Siliki’s return to Roazhon Park, he would be hoping to be a regular in Bruno Genesio’s squad as they compete in Ligue 1 as well as the Europa League.

Lea Siliki: How Afcon participation cost me Middlesbrough place

Will the Cameroon international find his feet at Rennes following his return to France?