Middlesbrough striker Massimo Maccarone has dismissed reports claiming he is eager to return to Italy on loan.

“I am a Middlesbrough player and I want it to stay that way,” he told the club’s website in response to yesterday’s reports that the former Empoli striker was looking to return to his homeland.

“I have never said to anybody that I want to go on loan. I am angry that this is how it has been reported because that is just not true.”

Maccarone has struggled with form and fitness this season and has managed just one goal in 11 appearances.

“I want to stay here and fight for my place in the team,” he admitted.

“Of course, I would rather be in the team so that I can prove my worth, but I am confident that I can score goals if I am given the chance.

“I have never spoken to any press about this until now. But what my agent had said was that if the club decided they thought it was best for me to go on loan, then that would be their decision.

“But as long as I am in the manager’s plans, then I want to stay here and do my best for the team.”