Craig Harrison today hailed Michael Woods as the “one of the best professionals” he’s ever worked with.
The Hartlepool United boss was thrilled with his entire squad – and staff – after seeing the side clinch back-to-back wins by beating Maidstone United 3-1.
However, Harrison singled out the former Chelsea midfielder for his display, not just against the Stones but for his “unbelievable” attitude.
Woods started the National League programme in the middle of the park, only to be subbed at half-time of the home defeat to Dover Athletic.
The 27-year-old was brought back at Guiseley, where he was excellent and he was even better against Maidstone, leading by example.
Teenager Connor Simpson was the Pools Player HD man of the match after a dream full debut, but many, including Harrison, put Woods at the top of the pile.
“Michael Woods was exceptional again,” said the boss. “In the last four to five minutes he’s still chasing every ball down, putting the tackles in.
“That’s a lad who has not played for two to three weeks before.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, he’s one of the best professionals I’ve worked with, for attitude, for having his feet on the ground, for driving people on.
“He’s been unbelievable.
“He found himself out of the team after the first game, but he’s worked his socks off to get back in and he’s been the best player on the pitch for two games.”
What has impressed Harrison the most has been the maturity and commitment displayed by the Yorkshireman.
“His attitude around the place has positive,” he added, “He’s an honest lad. He says how it is, there are no loaded comments, no sarcasm.
“You can get that sometimes from players who are not in the team.
“It’s human nature for a player to want someone in their position not to do as well – let’s not beat about the bush, it happens.
“But Woodsy has been unbelievable.
“I’ve had good conversations with him, try to keep his positive and he’s never been one bit of a problem.
“To keep in the shape he has and to be as positive as he has been shows his character and professionalism.
“When we have been beaten, things get said after games, but he’s got been getting up and saying that he should be playing, instead it’s been about what we should be doing as a team.
“It’s always been a ‘we’ when Woodsy talks, not an ‘I’.
“I cannot speak highly enough of him – as a man as much as a player. He’s been excellent.”