Sean Davis has sparked a transfer race between Everton and Middlesbrough by handing in a transfer request at Fulham.

Boro and Everton have been tracking Davis all summer and their interest appears to have sparked the player’s written request, which was handed in on Thursday.

A Fulham statement announced: “The club is disappointed to announce that Sean Davis handed in a written transfer request to Chris Coleman, citing his ambition to ‘further his career’ as his reason to want to leave Fulham.

“Chris is obviously saddened by the request as he believes that Sean had a huge future at the club and that his career prospects would have been considerably enhanced playing for Fulham in a pivotal role.”

Davis explained: “”I’ve been at Fulham a long time and now I think it is time I moved on.

“It is not a decision I have taken lightly and I hope the fans understand but I am a very ambitious player and I don’t think Fulham have the necessary ambition any more since they sold Steve Finnan to Liverpool.

“I have made the decision with no disrespect to Chris Coleman, who is a great guy. In fact, the decision was made harder because of my respect for him.

“Hopefully he will do well, but I have to put myself first. The European Championships are coming up at the end of the season and I feel I would have a better opportunity of making them by moving to a bigger club.

“I have to think of myself. I want to improve as a player and this is a crossroads in my career.”

Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren confirmed his interest to BBC Sport shortly before Davis handed in his written request.

McClaren sees the midfielder as the ideal replacement for Cameroon international Geremi, who spent last season on loan at the Riverside from Real Madrid but has now joined Chelsea.

“The team is good but the squad needs strengthening and Sean Davis is a player I admire,” McClaren has said.

“Fulham don’t really want to sell him and I can understand that.”

But McClaren remains determined to add to his squad before the season kicks off on 16 August – ironically at Fulham.

“We haven’t got a replacement for Geremi yet, Ugo Ehiogu is injured for quite a while and we need that depth in squad,” McClaren said.

Everton were the first Premiership club to be linked with a move for Davis.

Manager David Moyes publicly made the midfielder his number one transfer target but had a £5m bid rejected by Fulham last month.