AITOR Karanka’s distinguished career and exciting football philosophy made the Spaniard the outstanding candidate as Steve Gibson set about looking for a replacement for Tony Mowbray, writes Dominic Shaw.
It wasn’t one particular quality which attracted the Boro supremo to the 40-year-old, but many.
And after a number of “long discussions” before the appointment was made official yesterday, Gibson revealed his excitement as he looks ahead to a new dawn for his beloved Middlesbrough with Karanka at the helm of team affairs.
“He’s very modest,” said Gibson, describing Middlesbrough’s first foreign manager in the club’s 135-year history.
“He’s the most decorated player we’ve ever had.
“Three Champions League winners medals, 33 games in the Champions League, nearly 100 games for Real Madrid. A very distinguished career.”
And Gibson is not at all concerned about his new recruit’s lack of managerial experience.
Karanka learnt the trade from one of the very best with three years as Jose Mourinho’s assistant at the club he served so well as a player.
That followed a spell in charge of Spain’s under 16 team, a role which Gibson says shouldn’t be underestimated.
“Spain has been the top footballing nation for a generation,” said Gibson, flanked by the club’s chief executive Neil Bausor at yesterday’s press conference.
“You don’t become coach of a Spanish national team at any level unless you have something.
“Jose Mourinho wouldn’t pick you unless you had something.
“We had many discussions, long discussions.
“His footballing philosophy excites everyone he speaks to. We are very excited.”
Gibson acknowledges words are cheap and accepts fortunes on the field won’t change overnight.
But his ambition never alters and the Premier League remains the ultimate target.
“These are just words,” said Gibson.
“What we need is a passage of time but our objective is clear.
“We want Middlesbrough Football Club back in the Premier League as quickly as possible but we know that is going to take a bit of time, it’s going to need plenty of hard work and a lot of change.”