How Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate is looking for the perfect balance between youth and experience
New head coach Jonathan Woodgate has praised a couple of Middlesbrough’s senior players who are acting as role models for the club’s young prospects.
Since his appointment last month Woodgate has made it clear he wants to give youngsters a chance at the Riverside this season, yet finding the balance between youth and experience will be key.
“Everyone gets a bit carried away,” said Woodgate after Boro’s 3-1 win over Gateshead on Wednesday. “I said about the young players but you do need the experience around them.
“You know what the Championship is like, it’s a difficult league so you need that right experience around to bring them on.”
One player who has impressed in Boro’s first two pre-season friendlies is 20-year-old left-back Patrick Reading, who has taken his chance due to George Friend’s injury.
Yet the experience of Boro’s senior players will be a key asset this term, as Woodgate looks to promote players from the club’s academy.
“If you can bring one player with experience in and then draft others in, then perfect,” Woodgate added.
“Like Patrick Reading he couldn’t have a better role model than George Friend and George has been unbelievable and will continue to be unbelievable for this football club.
“On the other side you’ve got Stephen Wearne, he’s got Jonny Howson playing behind him helping him. There’s different things within this football club that’s helping these young players, and if you can bring one player with experience in and then draft others in then perfect.”