Jonathan Woodgate will contact England boss Gareth Southgate as he strives to become a success at Middlesbrough

Jonathan Woodgate still has a lot to learn as he embarks on his first managerial challenge as Middlesbrough boss – and he knows it.

By Joe Nicholson
Monday, 17 June, 2019, 11:45
Gareth Southgate led England to a World Cup semi-final last summer.

For that reason the former defender will be looking to gain advice from some of his former managers, as he strives to become a success in the Riverside dugout.

One of the many names on Woodgate’s contact list is England manager Gareth Southgate, who also received his first managerial gig on Teesside.

And in his first press conference as Boro’s new boss, Woodgate said he would speak to Southgate and pick his brains about the challenges of management.

“I haven’t spoken to any of my former managers yet, but I will do,” said Woodgate. “I’ll be tapping into them because I’m not the finished article and I need to keep on learning.

“I’m at the start of my pathway and they can pass on a lot of advice to me.

“Of course Gareth knows this club, he knows the chairman, and he’s done a fantastic job at England. I will look to get in touch at some point.”

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There are certainly similarities between Woodgate and Southgate, who took England to a World Cup semi-final last summer.

In Russia, Southgate created an open environment between his players and members of the press, a contrast to the cagey approach taken in previous tournaments.

Boro seem to be taking a similar approach, highlighted by Woodgate’s offer to show members of the press his interview presentation later in the season.

The club also provided food and refreshments after Woodgate’s first press conference, where members of the media could mix with Boro’s new-look coaching team.

Southgate also benefited by promoting England’s younger players into the senior set-up, following his time in charge of the nation’s under-21 side.

It’s a strategy Woodgate will hope to replicate next season, after Boro’s new boss vowed to play an attacking brand of football and utilize the club’s academy during his time at the Riverside.