Jonathan Woodgate delivers verdict on '£35million' defender and Middlesbrough duo after Bournemouth's win over hometown club
Jonathan Woodgate says Dael Fry has become a leader at Middlesbrough and is worth significantly more than recent reports have suggested.
It was claimed by a national newspaper that Burnley were lining up a £10million move for the 23-year-old centre-back – a figure which was laughed off by Boro boss Neil Warnock
Woodgate worked closely with Fry during his time in charge of the Teessiders and also rates the player highly.
Since then, Woodgate has been appointed head coach at Bournemouth and guided the Cherries to a 3-1 win over Boro at the Vitality Stadium.
When asked about Fry, who missed the match with a calf injury, Woodgate said: “I said £30million last year, you have to be looking at £35million.
“£10million? Come on! Not a chance.
“I said £30million, the season he's had now it's probably £35million.
“Dael is class. He's a proper player.
“I'm a massive fan of Dael Fry, massive fan. He has to pick the right club if he does move on at some point.
“I'm a big fan, as I am of (Marcus) Tavernier as well, and (Jonny) Howson - love him.”
Woodgate also believes Boro have benefitted from the good work at their academy, with the likes of Fry and Tavernier progressing into the first team.
“They can achieve anything if they keep performing like they have been,” Woodgate added.
“The coaching they've had through Dave Parnaby, Craig Liddle, all the other coaches have done an unbelievable job.
“Dael is coming into his own, he's becoming a man now. He hasn't got an (Daniel) Ayala to rely on, a (Ryan) Shotton to talk him through games.
“He's grown this year in stature and become a leader, which is pleasing.”
Woodgate was also asked about defensive pair Marc Bola and Anfernee Dijksteel, who signed for the club under his management but struggled to adapt at Championship level.
Both players have been excellent under Warnock this season, though, establishing themselves as first-team regulars at the Riverside.
“You rely on recruitment so I'd be lying if I said those signings were all down to me. I'm not going to say that,” replied Woodgate when quizzed on the pair.
“You have scouts in there who deserve credit, to be honest.
“Last season it was tough for Anfernee and Marc. In a perfect world they'd have sat behind George Friend and learnt for a year but Marc didn't have that time because George was injured.
“On the right hand side, Anfernee was injured and was out for something like seven months.
“I always felt Marc was one who we could tuck behind George if he was fit and Anfernee would be OK.
“But both have turned out to be really good signings for Middlesbrough, fair play to the players.”
Woodgate admitted he was nervous about facing his hometown club and knew it would be a tough test against a play-off rival.
“I'm glad to get it out of the way,” he added.
“Listen I was nervous.
“I know what type of teams Neil Warnock puts out.
“I didn't really know much of the Boro team, there were eight players I'd never worked with so it was a totally different squad.
“Neil Warnock is a wily manager, he's had longevity, I knew it was going to be tough.”