Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Forward Thinking

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Forward Thinking

Article excerpt

Gareth Southgate's long-held plans to attack are beginning to take shape - now that the defence is finally sorted.

The Boro boss has stuck to his guns to build an attacking side despite the team shipping goals in the opening few games.

The signing of Jonathan Woodgate has helped turn things around at the back, and now Southgate is looking further upfield.

He said: "That clean sheet at Bolton was a significant result for us. If you want to achieve the level of success that we are seeking, we need a solid defence. We coped with everything that Bolton threw at us and dealt with it pretty well.

"When you look at the side we had on duty and think that we left behind Robert Huth, Stewart Downing, Mark Viduka and Julio Arca, then it can only get better.

"We have got lots of attacking talent in there and, with competition for places, we expect to make a significant attacking impact as the season goes on."

Southgate has already realised his ambition to play with two wingers. James Morrison and Adam Johnson did the job at the Reebok, while Fabio Rochemback and Jason Euell provided added creativity in the middle.

When you consider that Lee Cattermole was the only midfielder capable of playing an orthodox defensive role in that formation, it was an ambitious line-up.

And the great thing from Southgate's point of view is that Boro are able to pick up points with such a young line-up.

He said: "We put out a very young side but they got through their fair share of attacking, even despite the pressure we had to soak up.

"We changed things around in the second half and pushed Jason Euell further forward.

"He put through a great ball for Yakubu near the end that might have won us it.

"But we are learning all the time and those two points on the road are very important to us. Now we have to continue to make progress and get results at home."

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