Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate quizzed on Luton team selection and pays tribute to ex-Newcastle United boss

Jonathan Woodgate has held his pre-match press conference ahead of Middlesbrough’s trip to Luton on Friday, and there was plenty to discuss. Here’s a look back at some of the talking points:

Thursday, 1st August 2019, 1:52 pm
Jonathan Woodgate will take charge of his first competitive game as Middlesbrough head coach at Luton on Friday night.

Woodgate has made up his mind – Boro’s head coach was asked if he’d already decided his starting XI ahead of Boro’s Championship opener. "Yeah, I know exactly where we’re going” was his response.

Woodgate was also asked if new signings Marcus Browne and Marc Bola were ready to start at at Kenilworth Road, to which he replied: "How about Hayden Coulson?”

That suggests Coulson, 21, is favourite to start at left-back after his impressive pre-season, ahead of Bola and even captain George Friend, who could return to the side along with goalkeeper Darren Randolph following injury setbacks.

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Friend can also play at centre-back if required while Woodgate hinted Browne is ready to start.

Bobby Robson’s legacy lives on – Wednesday marked the 10-year anniversary since the death of the former England boss.

Woodgate, who played under several managers during his playing days, was asked what he took from Robson as a manager after playing under him at Newcastle.

“His enthusiasm, his man management, the way he was every day in training, doing drills at 70 years old,” Woodgate replied. “The way he treated you when you played well and when you didn’t play so well you’d still go out of the office feeling you were the best player.

“I learnt so much from him and it’s what I’ll try to do with my players. He was a fantastic man.”

Boro will focus on what they can do – Woodgate is under no illusions about the challenges Boro will face when they travel to Kenilworth Road but insists his side must focus on their own strengths.

“We’ve looked into Luton, Phil Hudson does our analysis work, he’s fantastic, I’ve known him for a lot of years now,” said Woodgate.“He’s brilliant on that but it’s down to us and what we do, I’m a big believer in that, in what we can do, I’m not too worried about what the other teams can do, it’s what we can do to hurt them.”