'There's a little bit of Real Madrid in there': Ian Holloway makes flattering claim about Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate
Former Blackpool and Crystal Palace manager Ian Hollway has strongly defended Jonathan Woodgate despite the latter’s difficult start to the season at Middlesbrough.
Woodgate was appointed Boro’s head coach back in June but has won just two of his first 11 league games in charge.
The former Real Madrid and England defender has earned praise from many of his players, though, particularly for his coaching methods.
Those comments have been echoed by Holloway, who believes Woodgate’s playing experience will help him be successful in the dugout.
"We've played 11 games and it's a marathon, not a sprint. If it was a sprint, he'd be struggling but it's a marathon," Holloway told TalkSport when asked about Woodgate, who he visited at Rockliffe Training Ground last month.
"I've watched him coach and I loved him, I absolutely loved it. There's a little bit of the old Real Madrid in there, I think it was a bit of the defensive brain that he has and the playing out. How much would he be worth now?
"I know Tony Pulis, who is a great friend of mine, and he rates Jonathan really highly. You have to get them to buy into what you're club means to you and he's doing it the hard way.
Like Woodgate, Holloway managed the club he grew up supporting following a five-year spell at Bristol Rovers.
That can bring its own challenges, yet Holloway believes Woodgate’s passion will act as a strength.
"He loves Middlesbrough, he's always loved Middlesbrough and he's trying to manage them,” Holloway added. “I had that with Bristol Rovers and I'm telling you, it nearly killed me.
"You blame yourself for absolutely everything all the time and the only reason I ended up seeing five years at Bristol Rovers is because I had a blue contract, which was a player's contract because I was a player-manager.
"At the end of the day, the habit of getting rid of managers I think is wrong. Things can turn around and they very often do in football."