Jonathan Woodgate reveals what his relationship is like with Charlton boss Lee Bowyer
Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate still speaks regularly to former Leeds United team-mate Lee Bowyer – the manager he will come up against this weekend.
Woodgate’s Boro will face Charlton Athletic in an important Championship clash at the Riverside on Saturday, with both struggling in the bottom half of the division.
Bowyer took charge of the Addicks in 2018 and guided the club to promotion from League One last season.
And Woodgate says the pair have remained close friends since their playing days.
“Really good,” said Woodgate when asked about his relationship with Bowyer. “We speak on the phone. If I don’t speak to him for say a couple of years, I can pick up the phone and it’s like we’ve never been away.
“We had some times together as footballers and we learnt a lot of lessons in those times.
“Lee is really calm. When you know him, he’s calm. OK, on the sideline when you see him, he can lose it at times, but can’t we all. It happens. He is really, really calm off the pitch when you speak to him. He’s a good lad.”
Woodgate and Bowyer also ended up in the news for the wrong reasons during their time at Leeds in 2001.
The pair both were arrested and accused of taking part in an attack. Woodgate was cleared of grievous bodily harm (GBH) and convicted of a lesser charge of affray, while Bowyer was cleared of the charges.
Saturday’s meeting between the two young managers will inevitably lead to national interest, and when asked about the greater coverage, Woodgate said: “You get on with it, you move on and you look to the future.”
Woodgate was also asked if he thought Bowyer would go into management during their playing day, to which the Boro boss replied: “Listen, he was 21, I was 19, who knows what you are going to do when you are that age, you can’t write the future.
“But as you grow older… he has always been clever with how he sees players playing, and formations and stuff, he has always loved the game. He is a really good guy and a very good man-manager.”