Woodgate vows to bring a bit of Real Madrid to Middlesbrough as he begins reign

JONATHAN WOODGATE vowed to bring a bit of the Bernabeu to Boro as he begins his managerial career.
The ex-England defender, 39, was yesterday confirmed as boss of his home-town team Middlesbrough on a three-year deal.

Jonathan Woodgate has replaced Tony Pulis as Middlesbrough manager
PA:Press Association

And Woodgate admits he will draw from the experience of all of his former clubs — including his seasons alongside Real Madrid’s Galacticos from 2004-07.

He said: “Going to Real Madrid as a boy from Middlesbrough was unbelievable.

“I had a year there when I did a lot of thinking and I probably grew up there as a man.

“I was injured for a long period but you learn every day from the bigger players at that club.

Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Raul, David Beckham, they were all humble guys.

“But they do things right, their standards were bang on and that’s what this club will get back to.”

Riverside chairman Steve Gibson insisted Woodgate was always his first choice to replace Tony Pulis — as SunSport revealed back in March.

He will be assisted by his old Leeds and Spurs team-mate Robbie Keane, who will combine the job with his coaching role at Ireland.

And Woodgate admits he takes heart from how some of his old England team-mates have done in their first management roles, including Frank Lampard, who took Derby to the play-off final.

He said: “Frank did a brilliant job and I hope he gets the Chelsea job because it would be great to see an English coach running a Champions League team.

“You can also look at Steven Gerrard, Scott Parker and Lee Bowyer as well. You need a chairman who has got a great desire to put a manager in who has never had a chance before.”

‘INCREDIBLE MANAGERS’

Gibson has a history of blooding new bosses, including an England manager past and present in Steve McClaren and Gareth Southgate.

Woodgate added: “Those managers have had great success and been incredible managers.

“Gareth has gone on to be England manager and done an unbelievable job.

“This is the start of my pathway and hopefully it builds up like that.”

Woodgate also vowed to get fans back to the Riverside by playing attacking football — a clear break from the defensive style of Pulis which kept many supporters away.

He said: “We need to get more fans in, that is without a doubt. But we need to play the football to get them in, it’s simple.

“If we are playing attacking football, scoring goals week in, week out, I know this Boro crowd will come back, 100 per cent.”

Woodgate, whose injury-hit career restricted him to just eight caps, insists he wants Boro to be challenging for promotion to the Premier League next term, even though supremo Gibson refused to put that pressure on his rookie boss.

Woodgate added: “I have a personal aim and all my coaching staff would say exactly the same as me — we all want to aim as high as possible. I’m not a manager that wants to finish 12th, I want to be amongst it.”

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