What will be discussed at Neil Warnock's meeting with Steve Gibson as Middlesbrough boss talks transfers, recruitment and club philosophies

Neil Warnock says it’s his duty to tell Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson what he thinks will take the club forward during a meeting this week.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 8:33 am

Neil Warnock says it’s his duty to tell Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson what he thinks will take the club forward during a meeting this week.

The pair will sit down after Boro’s game against Coventry to discuss several topics, including transfers, the current squad and Warnock’s future.

It remains unclear if Warnock will stay at Boro next season but the 72-year-old has already identified potential transfer targets for next season – even if he hasn’t given up on a play-off place this campaign.

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Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock.
Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock.

“I came up here for Steve and I think it’s my duty to tell him what I think is needed to take the club forward,” said Warnock. “That’s what I will be doing when we meet.

“I don’t think he’d expect any less of me either in the role I’m in. I’m sure my future will be a topic of discussion at that same time.

“We’ll have a good long chat about every aspect at the club and then at the end I’m sure we’ll talk about myself.

“There are only 13 games left so we can’t keep putting those talks off. But we haven’t. This meeting has been in the diary for weeks now. It’s nothing extraordinary.

“I feel I’ve got to tell him everything I feel about the club because that’s what I’m here for.”

Boro are five points off the top six with 13 games to go, yet Warnock believes Boro’s squad is in good nick and won’t need a massive revamp, whoever is in charge.

“I think I have to recommend or look at the people who are put before me,” added Warnock when asked by the Mail about transfer targets and this summer’s recruitment.

“I don’t think there is a lot wrong with the team if I’m honest. I have my own ideas which I’ll be speaking to Steve about on Wednesday.

“I think that when you are around the place you say what you think you need after playing different games against different systems.

“I think what the lads have done this year is show they can quite easily cope with the positions where they are. Some of the lads who have been written off in the past have become very good players and now we are looking for what I call the icing on the cake.”

Before Warnock took charge, Boro adopted a transfer policy to try and sign younger players who could grow with the club – the likes of Anfernee Dijksteel, Marc Bola and Marcus Browne.

That is one aspect which will be discussed with Gibson as the Teessiders look to find the right balance between youth and experience.

“That’s one of the conversations I’ll be having this week,” replied Warnock when asked about the age of his squad. “You look at the 24-29 year age group, we haven’t got many.

“Over 29, we have Jonny Howson, maybe Grant Hall, I don’t know how old Grant is.

“We do have a lot of young players in the squad, you can’t have too many young players in the squad, not in the Championship.

“I think you have to have some sort of plan and look at the age group we are missing out on.”

In the summer of 2019, following the appointment of Jonathan Woodgate at the Riverside, there was lots of talk about developing a philosophy at Boro and finding players who would fit that style.

Warnock, though, believes managers should be able to adapt depending on the squad they inherit, being able to find a system which suits their players’ strengths

“I think there’s a lot of talk from boards when they change managers and from managers when they arrive at clubs, what they are going to do and what they can’t do,” Warnock added.

“I think talk is cheap if I’m honest, I could be the best manager in the world if all I did was talk.

“I saw Bournemouth play the first half against Cardiff, played some lovely football but lost the game.

“It all depends what you want really, I think every manager will please themself.

“Management is all about getting the best out of what you’ve got, playing a system to suit the players you’ve got at your club, not what you think is the best way forward. Not what fans think is the best way forward.

Warnock went on to reiterate the quality of Boro’s squad and how he was impressed with his side’s performance during their 1-1 draw with Cardiff last time out.

“This group of players I’ve got are some of the best footballers I’ve ever had in my career at Middlesbrough,” Warnock added. “I thought we played some decent football on Saturday in a difficult game because it wasn’t made for playing football.

“We played as well as we could really, got behind them, I was quite pleased really.

“It isn’t rocket science, a lot of managers go to clubs and say this is how we are going to play and this is the philosophy and that is how they have to sign players then if that’s the case.

"Usually you should go into a club, look at the players and decide then what they can do.

“There’s no divine right which way you play, you saw the two extremes the other day with Cardiff and Bournemouth.

“I think that's what makes the Championship such a good league, you don’t know what’s around the corner. It’s another different challenge every few days.”

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