Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Perfect Timing

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Perfect Timing

Article excerpt

Jonathan Woodgate couldn't have joined us at a better time.

Arsenal is not usually a happy hunting ground for the Boro in the league and we need as much quality as possible in our team.

We all remember what happened last year and we've also seen the four and fives before that.

So we need a determined approach and strong defenders, and Woodgate is exactly the kind of player you would want in a battle.

He won't have any problems dealing with the occasion.

Hopefully he will also enjoy taking on the Premier League's best striker when he comes up against Thierry Henry.

There's no pressure on Woodgate to perform. He's a quality player and everybody knows what he can do.

But there is pressure on him to stay fit. That's the main thing for me.

We know Woodgate will produce the goods as long he is on the field.

He's suffered two terrible years because of injury and I wish him the best of luck.

Our other new defensive signing, Robert Huth, isn't ready yet, so it gives Chris Riggott the chance to prove that he deserves to stay in the team alongside Woodgate.

Riggott was one of our best players last year and he must be wondering where he stands after we've brought in Woodgate and then paid pounds 6m for Huth.

I wouldn't blame him for knocking on Gareth Southgate's door and asking for a fair crack of the whip.

Southgate isn't going to pay pounds 6m for a player and then leave him out of the side, but then you would hope that Riggott stays in if he plays out of his skin.

It's up to him. There's no better place to impress than at Arsenal.

Obviously it's our first time at the Emirates Stadium and we must hope for better luck than we had at Highbury.

Aston Villa went to Arsenal on the first day and got a point, so we have to try to do the same - or even better.

They tell me that the Emirates has a bigger pitch than Highbury and that would help a team that has two wingers.

Unfortunately we've only got one, so maybe that won't make any difference to us. …

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