Jonathan Woodgate: Middlesbrough confirm ex-England defender as head coach

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

Jonathan Woodgate says he wants to get fans "on the edge of their seat" with "attacking, exciting football" after being named as Middlesbrough's new head coach on a three-year contract.

The former England defender, 39, was part of the coaching set-up under previous boss Tony Pulis but has never managed at senior level before.

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

Woodgate will be assisted by ex-Leeds and Tottenham team-mate Robbie Keane.

Leo Percovich and Danny Coyne have also been appointed as part of Woodgate's coaching team, as Boro prepare for a third successive season in England's second tier.

"We want to get fans on the edge of their seat," said Woodgate, who made 112 appearances in two playing spells with his home-town club.

"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."

Jonathan Woodgate with Middlesbrough's new coaching team
New Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate will be assisted by Robbie Keane, Leo Percovich and Danny Coyne

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

Keane's role coaching alongside Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy will be unaffected by his new position at Middlesbrough.

Coyne has joined as goalkeeping coach following his departure from Shrewsbury Town, where the ex-Wales international spent six years on the coaching staff and had two brief stints as caretaker manager.

Boro's 'new identity'

Analysis - Steve Crossman, BBC Sport

The two key words in the official club statement were not "Jonathan Woodgate". The key words were "new identity".

Fans became so alienated by the robust, robotic and defensive style of football under Pulis that anger in the stands was replaced by apathy, when you reach that stage the writing is on the wall.

Middlesbrough's fresh start is as much born out of necessity as it is desire because they no longer have the cash injection of Premier League parachute payments and so the new Boro will change both off the field and on it.

Woodgate has been given the remit of playing exciting football, bringing the fans back and repairing the pathway between the academy and the first team, something the club previously prided itself on.

The lower leagues will be plundered, as will countries such as the Netherlands and Germany. Chief executive Neil Bausor and head of recruitment operations Adrian Bevington have spent time there this summer looking at potential signings and one of their early summer targets is ADO Den Haag winger Sheraldo Becker who is available on a free transfer.

Chairman Steve Gibson has never been scared to appoint a rookie coach. Since taking over the club in 1986, he has given Bryan Robson, Steve McClaren and Gareth Southgate their first gigs and Boro have that concept in their DNA going back further still. Older fans will tell you about the great Jack Charlton taking on his first managerial role at the old Ayresome Park in 1973, just seven years after winning the World Cup with England.

Keane is an exciting addition as assistant manager and fans will be delighted to see former goalkeeping coach Percovich return in a more senior role. The Uruguayan was a very popular member of Aitor Karanka's staff when the club last won promotion to the Premier League in 2016.

From the north east to Madrid and back again

Jonathan Woodgate winning the league cup with Tottenham in 2008
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 did not make his debut for more than a year after signing - at a time when David Beckham, Raul, Brazilian Ronaldo and Guti were also playing for Real.

The former Leeds and Tottenham centre-half was in the Boro squad that won promotion to the Premier League in 2015-16.

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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