Middlesbrough FC transfer news: Jonathan Woodgate responds to Britt Assombalonga speculation amid interest from Celtic, Fulham and Sheffield United
Head coach Jonathan Woodgate says Britt Assombalonga is a Middlesbrough player for the future despite reported interest in the frontman.
It has been claimed that several clubs, including Celtic, Fulham and Sheffield United, are monitoring the striker following his return from the Africa Cup of Nations this summer.
The 26-year-old showed exactly why he’s a man in demand after scoring a hat-trick for Boro in a 3-1 win at Salford on Tuesday night.
And Woodgate believes he can get the best out of Assombalonga this campaign, with the striker looking to improve on last season’s 14 Championship goals.
“I was really pleased with Britt, I thought he deserved it,” said Woodgate after the Salford win. “Since he came back from international duty he's been class. He was different class tonight.
“He was away at the Africa Cup of Nations so I gave him extra days off, he's come back and he's refreshed.”
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There were times last season when former boss Tony Pulis left Assombalonga out of the side, yet you get the impression the striker will be a key player under Woodgate.
Boro’s head coach is certainly planning for life with Assombalonga and when asked about the recent transfer gossip, Woodgate said: “Britt Assombalonga is a Middlesbrough player for the future.
“Britt will score you goals wherever he plays. His record shows it. If he gets an arm round him, gets that confidence he will score goals.
“The key is when he is going through a sticky patch, it’s to stick with him. Stay with him, keep him in the firing line. Sometimes when you might take him out, he could get one off his knee or something, he is a fantastic lad and I like him as a lad as well.
“They were proper finishes tonight. His second was a proper finish, how sweet did he catch it? The first one he was in the right place and the third he has got to the back post. We have Robbie Keane who will work hard with the strikers.”
“He'll score goals for us this season without a shadow of a doubt.”