Jonathan Woodgate sends message to Middlesbrough youngsters after Gateshead win
New head coach Jonathan Woodgate says Middlesbrough’s youngsters would be stupid not to realise the first-team opportunities in front of them.
Woodgate is keen to promote the club’s academy prospects at the Riverside, with several players joining up with the senior side in pre-season.
The Teessiders recorded their first win of the summer after beating Gateshead 3-1 on Wednesday night, courtesy of goals from Jonny Howson, Ashley Fletcher and Marvin Johnson.
And when asked if the younger players are responding in training, Woodgate replied: “They’d be stupid if they weren’t, if they don’t want to come for the ride then move on.
“I’ve seen players, top quality players, better than me when I was at Leeds, they had all the ability in the world but they didn’t have the desire. If they don’t make sacrifices they won’t be here with me.
“I know them all, I’ve worked with them at under-18s level and know all of the 23s players last year, I’ve done a lot of work with them all and I know their personalities.
“The ones who don’t want to come for the ride they can go out of the door, but the ones that do, I know the ones who do, that’s what I want.
One player who has impressed in recent weeks is defender Patrick Reading, 20, with first-choice left-back George Friend still out injured.
“He’s a really grounded kid,” added Woodgate when asked about Reading. “He can play, he’s good in the air for his size, he’s a confident kid. If he’s playing well he’ll play.”