Middlesbrough defender Ryan Shotton opens up on the changes made by Jonathan Woodgate
Defender Ryan Shotton has lifted the lid on how life has changed under new boss Jonathan Woodgate at Middlesbrough.
Under former manager Tony Pulis, the 30-year-old was a regular first-team fixture at right-back but prefers to play in the heart of defence.
“Part of what I was punished for under Pulis was that I was a centre-half at Stoke with him and yet I never played a single game at centre-half for him,” Shotton told the Northern Echo.
“I came here after Birmingham, where people started to take me seriously as a centre-half, having been a right-back filling in.
“I did a job for Pulis here and when he left, I said to Woody ‘I want to play at centre-half’. He said ‘if we get the right players in then definitely’. Now I think it is showing what I can do there.”
Some Boro supporters remain unconvinced by Shotton’s ability at centre-back following a difficult start to this season.
However, several impressive performances in recent weeks have started to shift that perception.
What has never been doubted, though, is Shotton’s ability from throw-ins.
And while that side of the game is less important under Woodgate’s, Shotton isn’t disappointed.
“I don’t take as many throws because we try to play football now,” the defender added. “One game a few weeks ago we were running out of time so I threw it in. There will be the odd one, but we want to play a different way.
“This group now really is the best I have ever been around. Unity. Everyone is together, no one argues. There’s table tennis tables, pool, Playstations… that helps because it keeps people in after lunch. It keeps everyone together instead of rushing off. It’s good craic and that is what the club needs.
“The training helps as well. There’s positive training. From Pulis last year, it was a different training regime. There is always a ball but there’s some laughing and joking, then when we get to the changing room everyone is still full of life.”