Jonathan Woodgate's message to Lewis Wing and his Middlesbrough players after Luton draw
When Lewis Wing received the ball on the edge of the penalty area against Luton on Friday night, there was little doubt in his mind.
The 24-year-old midfielder has the ability to score from distance with his powerful right foot, and that’s exactly what head coach Jonathan Woodgate wants him to do.
In fact, Woodgate is encouraging all his players to shoot on sight, something which was clear to see in the pulsating 3-3 draw at Kenilworth Road.
Before his stunning strike to put Boro 3-2 up, Wing had fired a couple of efforts off target but wasn’t discouraged by his previous efforts.
When asked about his boss’ instructions after the game, Wing said: “I’ve been told when I pick up the ball and get into good positions in and around the box. If I think it’s on to just let it go, just have a shot.
“So I did and luckily it went in. It paid off. I scored. It felt great. I thought it was the winner to be honest but it never worked out like that.
For context, the Teessiders scored three goals in the league on just two occasions last season, a statistic which highlights Woodgate’s new, offensive approach.
“The gaffer has told me to shoot whenever I get the chance, to keep on doing what I do. And it is not just me. The gaffer has told us all to look to get forward and to get shots in.”
“Speaking as a central midfielder that is exactly what you want to hear: play forward and get shots off.”
Woodgate was also asked about Wing following Friday night’s blockbuster and lauded the player’s vast ability.
Wing scored four goals in all competitions last season after breaking into the first team. You’d expect him to improve on that this campaign.
“I just say to Wingy go and express yourself,” added Woodgate. “Go and express yourself because you've got the ability, you can score goals like that.
“He's got an incredible technique with his right foot. He does that in training so it was no surprise to me.”