Jonathan Woodgate drops contract hint and reacts to Tottenham speculation
Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate is confident Jonny Howson will be at the club next season despite the player’s contact situation.
Howson is one of seven Boro players who will see their current deals expire in the summer, along with George Friend, Ryan Shotton, Adam Clayton, Daniel Ayala, Marvin Johnson and Rudy Gestede.
Out of the seven, Howson appears the closest to agreeing new terms at the Riverside, and Woodgate has repeatedly praised his stand in captain throughout the campaign.
When asked about the 31-year-old ahead of Saturday’s trip to Brentford, Woodgate said: “He will be here at the end of the season, he’ll be here next season, that’s all I will say for now.”
Boro have been busy negotiating contracts in recent weeks, with several of their younger players signing new deals.
Djed Spence, 19, penned a new two-and-a-half year deal on Monday, following in the footsteps of Marcus Tavernier and Hayden Coulson.
Spence, who was born in London and came through the ranks at Fulham, had been linked with Premier League club Tottenham following his impressive performances at Boro.
Yet Woodgate is delighted the club’s talented youngsters want to stay at the Riverside as the Teessiders look to build for the future.
“Alledgedly,” said Woodgate when asked about Tottenham’s reported interest in Spence. “He could easily have returned south but he decided to stay and he decided to sign a new contract which took about a week to negotiate.
“Fair play to these lads, they are not taking ages over their contracts. They want to be be here.”
“Maybe Djed could have gone down south, maybe - but where else would he get a platform like this to play in the team every week.
“He’s enjoying it, he‘s really enjoying it or he wouldn’t have signed the new deal.”
Woodgate is also hopeful goalkeeper Aynsley Pears will sign a new contract at the Riverside after becoming the club’s first-choice stopper this season.
When asked when the 21-year-old could agree put pen to paper, Woodgate said: “Not sure on Aynsley, hopefully it gets done, soon I’d say.”