MIDDLESBROUGH have unveiled Dean Whitehead as their latest summer signing.
The former Sunderland midfielder has put pen to paper on a two-year contract at the Riverside.
A free agent following his release by Premier League Stoke City, for whom he made 158 appearances in four years, it is something of a return ‘home’ for Whitehead.
Some of the best times in his career came in the North East after making 200 appearances for the Black Cats during a five-year spell at the Stadium of Light.
“This is a fresh start for me and I’m looking forward to it,” said Whitehead.
“I had five or six options, but having spoken to the manager (Tony Mowbray) early in the summer I had a good feel for him and this place.
“I know the way he likes to play and I know there are a lot of good players here.”
If he needed a second opinion on his move, there was no shortage of people he could turn to.
Whitehead played with Grant Leadbitter at Sunderland and Jonathan Woodgate at Stoke, while he could also dip into the thoughts of Robert Huth, who has gone from strength to strength at the .
“I’m good friends with Grant and he loves the place,” Whitehead explained.
“He had a good season last season and is a good professional.
“Grant does everything the right way and just wants to win.
“As for Robert, I spoke with him recently and he really enjoyed his time here and spoke very highly of the club.
“I’m old and wise enough to know what Middlesbrough is about.
“I spoke to the manager, he told me what he wants and what he thinks the club can do.
“You take all that on board, but ultimately it’s a football decision and I think I am in the right place.”
Whitehead has twice been promoted out of the Championship and Boro are hoping he is something of a lucky charm.
“I know how difficult and demanding it is,” Whitehead told Boro+.
“It’s Saturday and Tuesday most weeks and going to not so pretty grounds on a night in winter.
“You just have to grind out results and hopefully that’s what I can help the team achieve.”