Jonathan Woodgate says Middlesbrough players will ‘die’ for Wembley cause

Patrick Bamford and Jonathan Woodgate
Patrick Bamford and Jonathan Woodgate

Jonathan Woodgate says Middlesbrough’s players would “die” for the opportunity to get into the Premier League.

The veteran defender, who could be bringing the curtain down on a great career at Wembley on Monday, said the Sky Bet Championship play-off final against Norwich City is the biggest game ever for the players, club and fans.

If we get in the Premier League, it’s a huge achievement. You’d die to it, it’s a massive game.

Jonathan Woodgate

The clash against the Canaries has been labelled as being worth somewhere in the region of £150 million to the winners, given the vast riches on offer in the top flight.

Woodgate said “If we get in the Premier League, it’s a huge achievement. You’d die to it, it’s a massive game. It’s not a normal match, it’s a final.

“The Championship play-off is the biggest thing outside winning a competition, if we can do it, it will be incredible for the club and the town.

“It’s going to be a special atmosphere, a full stadium, half of it red and the other half yellow, I just hope at the end it’s the reds celebrating.”

Woodgate believes Norwich will start as favourites, even though Boro have completed the double over them this season in the Championship programme.

“This is a one-off game, it’s going to be tense, both teams are going to be nervous,” said the ex-Newcastle defender.

“You look at Norwich and they are going to be the favourites.

“We have beaten them twice but pretty much every single one of their players is a Premier League player.

“Apart from one, I think all their team played in the Premier last year. The onus is on them, the pressure is on them because their players are bigger than ours.”

But Woodgate says that does not mean Boro are lacking belief, he is simply happy to install the Canaries, who finished the campaign third, as favourites.

“Monday is a massive game for the club and the town,” said the proud Boro lad who says trhe squad are getting a lot of positive energy from the town.

“We’ll go there with a lot of hope and confidence.

“We won’t be over-confident but we’ve got to be confident going into the game.

“We feel how much the town is really up for it, it’s going to be fantastic.”

But Woodgate refused to be drawn as to whether Monday will be his swansong after a career with Leeds, Newcastle, Real Madrid, Spurs and finally, and fittingly, Boro.

“I’ll only be thinking about what I’m going to do when I’m lying on a sun-lounger in the sun,” he said.

“I’m going to talk to the manager and my family, but I’ve made no decisions yet on what I will do.”