Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hands off Our Stars, Boro Tell Liverpool

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hands off Our Stars, Boro Tell Liverpool

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jack Pickering

Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren has told Liverpool to forget trying to sign defenders Franck Queudrue and Chris Riggott.

Rafael Benitez is reportedly preparing to move for the 27-year-old Frenchman and his 25-year-old team-mate during the January transfer window.

However, McClaren has warned the Merseysiders, who infuriated Boro by their ultimately successful pursuits of both Christian Ziege and Bolo Zenden, the two men are simply not for sale.

"We are flattered, obviously, that such a big club is interested in two of our younger players," he said.

"They are players who are doing very, very well for us and two players who we have got no intention of letting go. They are the future of Middlesbrough Football Club."

McClaren's determination to hang on to Queudrue, who initially joined the Teessiders on loan from Lens in October 2001 before completing a pounds 2.5m move the following summer, and Riggott, a pounds 1.5m signing from Derby in January 2003, is a reflection of his belief that Boro cannot be regarded as a selling club.

Since he arrived at the Riverside Stadium in the summer of 2001, Bryan Robson's successor has invested heavily in the likes of Gareth Southgate, George Boateng, Massimo Maccarone, Mark Viduka and Aiyegbeni Yakubu, while at the same time making use of the loan and free transfer systems to recruit players such as Zenden, Gaizka Mendieta and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

He has had the full support of chairman Steve Gibson, who he insists is the driving force behind the club's desire to hang on to its better players.

"This is what we want to do," said McClaren. "We want to develop our academy, we want to bring young players through. We do not want to sell them, we want to build this club for the future.

"We will be talking about that at a later date and the reasons why, but we are building a team here and that is what the chairman has always stressed. …

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