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.
“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.
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“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.”