MIDDLESBROUGH stalwart Ben Gibson is learning from an ex-England international and his dad.
The defender forms part of the Boro rear guard that takes on promotion rivals Watford (kick off 12.30pm) today.
Woodgate has played at the highest level and you can see whyBen Gibson
Gibson has been partnered alongside numerous team-mates this season, Dani Ayala the usual incumbent or Kenneth Omeruo or Tomas Kalas.
But in recent weeks the England U21 ace has had former Real Madrid defender Jonathan Woodgate beside him as the 35-year-old recovers from years of dilapidating injuries.
The eight-time capped defender still needs injections to play ninety minutes but his undoubted talent has not deteriorated as he has aged.
And for Gibson, 13 years his junior, it is both a pleasure and a lesson playing with the Teessiders’ captain.
“He’s played at the highest level and you can see why,” he told SportMail
“I thought he was amazing (during the 1-0 win against Wigan on Friday).
“He won every single header. He was excellent as a leader.”
But it is not just Woodgate who Gibson is learning from.
He has had some fatherly advice after he began to question why he was making needless mistakes last season.
This campaign has seen the gifted youngster eradicate those mistakes and he can pinpoint the reasons why.
“I spoke with my dad at the end of last season,” Gibson continued.
“Last season was massive for me. I learned a hell of a lot.
“The mistakes were ones I’d never made and I couldn’t think why.
“In the end when I sat down my dad I think it was because I playing for my hometown club I wanted it to be perfect.
“So if I didn’t win a header I’d chase after it and it was in the second phases of play where I’d make a mistake.”
Woodgate was seen grimacing as he finished his warm-down after the Wigan game on Good Friday so he may be replaced by loan defender Fernando Amorebieta for today’s game.
The Venezuelan, on loan from Fulham, is not likely to be the only change with striker Jelle Vossen possibly dropping to the bench for Kike.