Ex-Sunderland midfielder set to leave Middlesbrough for ‘new challenge’

Dean Whitehead (left) in action for Middlesbrough against Hartlepool.
Dean Whitehead (left) in action for Middlesbrough against Hartlepool.

DEAN Whitehead is set to leave Middlesbrough for a new “challenge” after Aitor Karanka’s side missed out on promotion to the Premier League.

The versatile 33-year-old midfielder, who played right-back in the Championship Play-Off final defeat to Norwich, had said he would like to extend his stay at Boro in the aftermath of the Wembley loss.

But the former Sunderland and Stoke player took to Twitter to confirm he would be leaving the Riverside outfit after a two-year stay.

Whitehead tweeted: “Lads have to take huge pride from the season.

“Loved my two years at Boro. Onto the next challenge.

“Thanks for all your support, I’ll miss you all.”

The experienced midfielder has provided cover for Grant Leadbitter and Adam Clayton in the heart of the midfield this season but he also featured at right-back in the final weeks of the campaign.

Whitehead, who signed for Sunderland in the summer of 2004 and stayed for five seasons, made 25 appearances this season for Boro and more than 60 during his two-year stay.

He becomes the third Boro player to take to social media to say his goodbyes.

Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford is leaving after his loan spell and Tottenham Hotspur loanee Ryan Fredericks has also said farewell.

Fredericks wrote: “Would just like to thank everyone associated with Boro from staff and players to the fans that travelled all over the country supporting us,” wrote Fredericks.

“Enjoyed my time up here and couldn’t have asked for a better set of lads to play with and be around every day.

“Disappointed with the result yesterday but I’m sure the squad will bounce back and be even better next season.

“Wish you all the best.”