Jonathan Woodgate: Middlesbrough confirm ex-England defender as manager

Jonathan Woodgate

Jonathan Woodgate ended his playing career with Middlesbrough, making his final appearance in August 2015

Middlesbrough have named Jonathan Woodgate as their new head coach on a three-year deal.

The former England defender, 39, was part of the coaching set-up under previous boss Tony Pulis but has never been a manager before.

Pulis left in May after Boro failed to reach the Championship play-offs.

Woodgate will be assisted by former Leeds and Tottenham team-mate Robbie Keane at the Riverside as well as Leo Percovich and Danny Coyne.

“We want to get fans on the edge of their seat,” Woodgate said.

“We want as many fans back in the stadium as we can by playing attacking, exciting football with high pressure, pressing in different areas.

“We’ve got to have a philosophy at the club and I certainly believe in it. It’s what I’ve grown up believing in.

“I’ve had managers play the style of football I want to play and I’ve bought into it and my coaching staff have done exactly the same.”

Woodgate made 112 appearances for Middlesbrough in two spells with his home-town club.

The former Leeds, Newcastle, Real Madrid and Tottenham centre-half was in the Boro squad that won promotion to the Premier League in 2015-16 during his second spell.

“Jonathan’s vision is very much aligned to our own for the club as we look to develop a new identity,” a club statement said.

Boro revealed there was “huge interest” in the job after Pulis’ departure, with a number of candidates both in the UK and abroad interviewed.

“It was during this procedure that it became clear Jonathan was the outstanding candidate to head up the new structure,” the club added.

“His staff bring a wealth of experience and knowledge.”

Republic of Ireland assistant Keane is joined by former Boro coach Percovich, who previously worked under Aitor Karanka, and former player Coyne as goalkeeping coach.

Keane will continue in his post alongside Republic manager Mick McCarthy as well as working with Woodgate at Boro.

From the north east to Madrid and back again

Woodgate helped Tottenham win the League Cup in 2008

Capped eight times by England, Woodgate’s playing career included a £13.4m move from Newcastle United to Real Madrid in August 2004.

Injuries hampered his time at the Bernabeu – he didn’t make his debut for more than a year – when David Beckham, Raul, Brazilian Ronaldo and Guti were also playing for Real.

He had a spell as a scout working for Liverpool in Spain before returning to Boro in March 2017 to join the coaching staff under interim manager Steve Agnew.

Boro finished seventh in the Championship last season, missing out on the play-offs by a point after a run of six successive defeats in March and April.

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