Middlesbrough fans should take encouragement from ex-Liverpool and Chelsea midfielders when assessing Jonathan Woodgate

Jonathan Woodgate was part of Middlesbrough's coaching staff last season.
Jonathan Woodgate was part of Middlesbrough's coaching staff last season.

On the face of it, appointing Jonathan Woodgate as Middlesbrough's new boss could imply a lack of ambition.

The former defender is expected to be announced the Teessiders' new manager today, despite having no previous managerial experience and already being part of the club's coaching staff.

For many Boro fans, the prospect of unveiling former Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic, an experienced head and two-time Championship promotion winner, was far more appealing, yet the image of a modern-day football manager has shown signs of changing in recent years.

Premier League legends Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are prime examples of young managers who've excelled in their inaugural first-team roles.

Lower down the footballing pyramid, Woodgate's former team-mate, Lee Bowyer, won promotion with Charlton last season after taking charge with no managerial experience.

That's not to say appointing Woodgate isn't a big risk for Boro - of course it is. The Teessiders were playing in the Premier League just over two years ago and spent heavily following relegation to the Championship.

And despite all the criticism under former boss Tony Pulis, Boro still finished just a point outside the play-offs. A top six finish should still be the aim.

For most of his career, Pulis has been viewed as a pragmatic and reliable operator, set on certain coaching methods and standards which would 'get the job done.'

During his time at the Riverside Pulis stuck to what he knew best, yet in his previous two jobs, at West Brom and Boro, fans have bemoaned the Welshman's negative tactics - a sign perceptions are changing.

In recent times, managers have found success by building positive and open relationships with players - take England boss Gareth Southgate for example, another appointment which was questioned at the time.

It should be noted that the likes of Lampard and Gerrard have only been in their roles a year, yet the camaraderie they've created has been impressive.

So could Woodgate create a similar environment at Boro?

The former defender certainly knows the players well following his time as a player and coach. Only time will tell if he can be a success.