Jonathan Woodgate: Middlesbrough head coach says managing home-town club is ‘huge honour’

New Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate hopes he can emulate others who have started out with the club.

Steve McClaren and Gareth Southgate both began their managerial careers at the Riverside Stadium and gone on to take charge of England.

Bryan Robson and Aitor Karanka have also had success on Teesside as first-time bosses.

“Those managers have had great success and been incredible managers, especially Gareth,” Woodgate said.

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

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

Former Middlesbrough defender Woodgate, 39, has signed a three-year deal with the Championship club to succeed Tony Pulis, who departed at the end of last season when Boro missed out on the play-offs.

Robson spent seven years in charge of Boro, initially as player-manager, winning two promotions to the top flight and seeing his side finish runners-up in both the FA Cup and League Cup in 1996-97.

McClaren guided Middlesbrough to their first major trophy, the 2004 League Cup, and then led them to the Uefa Cup final in 2006 before an unsuccessful spell with England and a varied career in club management in Europe, including winning the Dutch title with FC Twente.

Southgate presided over Boro’s relegation from the Premier League in 2009 but led the national team to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and third place in the Nations League this summer – having previously spent time in charge of England Under-21s.

Former Real Madrid defender Karanka led Boro to promotion from the Championship 2015-16, ending their seven-year exile from the top flight, but departed in March 2017 as the Teessiders were immediately relegated from the Premier League.

Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson says he has observed the “same qualities” in Woodgate as he also saw in some of his predecessors, including “real determination and great football history”.

“If you look at Bryan, Captain Marvel of England, Aitor, three Champions Leagues [as a player], Steve won the treble with Manchester United as a coach – they were all big, strong football people and Jonathan is that,” Gibson added.

“He’s a character, he’s his own man, he knows what he wants.

“I see a lot of qualities in Jonathan and I think he could be one for now, one for next year and certainly one for the future.”

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