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By ESPN Staff

Doriva the latest to be shown the door at Boro

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has opened the door to his blossoming midfield starlets after deciding not to renew Doriva's contract.

The 34-year-old Brazilian has followed Dutch striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink out of the Riverside Stadium as the new manager attempts to reduce the average age of his squad.

However, like the out-of-contract Hasselbaink - whose proposed move to Celtic has fallen through - Southgate admitted the decision to release him was tough.

He said: 'It was another difficult decision, but I have decided to let Doriva go. He has been a fabulous guy to work with for the last three-and-a-half years.

'He is a real gentleman and was always very popular among his team-mates. I've got enormous respect for him. He played a big part in our Carling Cup win, when he played in the final, while his experience was invaluable during our UEFA Cup runs.

'But I've got young players coming through that I want to give opportunities to.'

Doriva joined the club on a free transfer from Celta Vigo in January 2003 and, after impressing on a short-term contract, signed three subsequent one-year deals.

He proved invaluable as cover in central midfield, particularly during George Boateng's lengthy injury absences in each of the last two seasons.

But with Boateng having signed a new deal and Gaizka Mendieta and Fabio Rochemback battling for places alongside the likes of Lee Cattermole, Stewart Downing, James Morrison, Adam Johnson and Jason Kennedy, he is now surplus to requirements.

However, Southgate has vowed to do all he can to help Doriva find another club.

He said: 'I understand Doriva would ideally like to stay in English football because his family are settled here. We will certainly do all we can to help him find another club because I know he will do a terrific job wherever he goes.'

Southgate continues to pursue Fulham's Steed Malbranque and has been linked with a renewed approach for Manchester City midfielder Joey Barton.

However, while the Teessiders could yet add to their resources in that department, they were today refusing to comment on yet more speculation that Tottenham are ready to make another attempt to capture England international Downing.

Reports from London suggest that Spurs are preparing a £7.5million bid for the winger.

However, Boro rejected their approach last summer and warned them off making another amid fresh rumours in recent weeks, and their position remains unchanged.

In the meantime, the Teessiders are continuing discussions over a series of targets.

Southgate told the club's official website: 'We are talking to several clubs about players we are interested in. There are decisions to be made all the time, but I won't be rushed into any signings.

'I have to ensure they are right in the long-term, not just for the short-term. Of course, I want to strengthen the squad and we would prefer that to be sooner rather than later.

'I want good players. We have got a very good squad with plenty of back-up for the first 11, so I'm not looking to bring in back-up type players.

'I'm looking for players that will actually improve us as a team.'