Middlesbrough and England defender hopes to follow in Ben Gibson footsteps and reveals Jonathan Woodgate influence

Middlesbrough defender Dael Fry.
Middlesbrough defender Dael Fry.

Dael Fry is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Ben Gibson at Middlesbrough, while also revealing Jonathan Woodgate’s key role in his development.

The promising centre-back, who has been away on England Under-21 duty, is a rising star at the Riverside.

Highly-rated Fry, 21, has spoken about the impact of former Boro favourite Gibson, who secured a big-money move to Premier League Burnley in the summer.

Fry said: “It does seem like I am following in Ben’s footsteps and for me that’s a good thing.

“He played in the same tournaments with England as me and has gone through the age groups and got lots of caps and he played at the Riverside with England Under-21s like me.

“And obviously he became a fixture in the Boro side and played a lot of games and now he’s in the Premier League.

“I’d like to think that I can follow him in that and have that kind of career. Obviously Ben is a couple of years above me but knowing people at the club have gone through all that helps.

“Jonathan Woodgate has been there and done it and he is a great help.

“He is always there to talk too and I’ve worked with him and done extra training with him and he’s drilled in that you always have to look to improve,” added Fry, who believes England’s youngsters can triumph in next summer’s Under-21 European Championships.

He said: “England can win in Italy next year. Definitely. This is a good strong group of talent players.”

Meanwhile, Tony Pulis hopes his international players will be fit to face Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night.

George Saville, Paddy McNair and Mo Besic are expected back at Rockliffe Park today, with Darren Randolph and Martin Braithwaite due back Thursday.

Much to Pulis’ frustration, Boro lost an extra day’s preparation following the break because of the decision to bring the fixture at Sheffield Wednesday forward 24-hours for TV coverage.