Jonathan Woodgate explains how Middlesbrough will cope without Robbie Keane during international breaks
Middlesbrough head coach Jonathan Woodgate has a plan in place for when his assistant Robbie Keane joins up with Republic of Ireland.
Keane, who signed a one-year contract with Boro in June, has stayed on as Mick McCarthy’s No 2 with Ireland and was in the dugout during the Green Army’s fixtures against Switzerland and Bulgaria over the international break.
But rather than leave a void in Boro’s first-team coaching set-up, Woodgate is keen to give others an opportunity.
When asked about how the Teessiders’ have coped without Keane, Woodgate replied: “What I did, I got one of the youth team coaches, Paul Crager, to come in with me and give them experience and I thought he loved it.
“The experience to see how we work every day, to see what the players do every day, for them to get an insight into what the main team does.
“He was good,Paul, he's had six or seven years with the youth teams, he's the assistant manager at Thornaby.
“I'll do that for the other international breaks when Keano is not here, I'll bring one of the youth coaches in.”
Boro’s coaching team, which includes Leo Percovich and Danny Coyne, have also been joined by former Boro full-back Tony McMahon.
The 33-year-old is a free agent after leaving Oxford at the end of last season and is weighting up his options for the next stage of his career.
“We had Tony McMahon with us last week and this week to see how we do things,” added Woodgate. “I'll try and help him out. It's what I want to do, I want to see the younger coaches come through.
“I texted him to say, 'Macca come in, it's the international break, come in and see what you think, stay with us for the nine days up to the Reading game'.
“He is at the stage where he doesn’t know what to do, whether to keep on playing. It was a chance to see what we do and how organised you need to be, what you need to do on a daily basis because it's not like when you are a player.”