Jonathan Woodgate explains tactical decision and why he didn't start Lewis Wing against Stoke

Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate admitted he considered staring Lewis Wing ahead of Friday’s 2-1 win over Stoke – but elected to go with the more experienced Adam Clayton instead.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 10:47 pm
Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate.
Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate.

Wing came off the bench to score a stunning winner at the Riverside as Boro came from behind to move six points clear of the Championship relegation zone.

Woodgate introduced Wing and striker Rudy Gestede in the 58th minute after switching to a 4-2-3-1 formation in the second half.

When asked why Wing didn’t start the game, Woodgate said: “I was toing and froing whether to put him in because in training yesterday he smashed two goals like that in.

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“I thought I would go with the experience of Adam Clayton in this situation because of the younger players I was playing, Stephen Walker, Djed Spence, Hayden Coulson, (Marcus) Tavernier, (Dael) Fry.

“I thought I needed an experienced head in the middle of the pitch to try and dominate the game.

“What you have to remember about Adam Clayton is he’s been a fantastic servant for this football club and he’s still playing to a good standard.

“I made the change to release Lewis higher up the pitch and I thought Rudy and Marvin Johnson were very good when they came on.

Wing’s goal was his second in the Championship this season – with the other one coming at Luton on the opening day of the season.

“Wingy has got that in his locker and it’s about doing it on the big stage,” added Woodgate. “You can do it in training every day but it’s about transferring that from the training pitch into a stadium packed full.

“That’s the biggest thing, when he came on I though he was good, we played him there with Sav and he got forward.”

When asked about his side’s slow start, Woodgate said: “The first 45 minutes wasn't great, I needed more from the players, they knew that themselves. We changed formation in the second half and I thought we were a lot better, miles better."

“We went man for man in midfield and pinned their full-backs back a bit better. We looked more solid in midfield."