Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Look after Our Woody!

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Look after Our Woody!

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Paylor

Concerned Boro boss Gareth Southgate has appealed to England to look after Jonathan Woodgate.

Southgate wants England's medical men to wrap Woodgate in cotton wool as the Middlesbrough-born defender prepares to earn his ninth cap against Spain on Wednesday.

The Boro boss believes that Woodgate must not be pushed too hard at the training sessions over the next two days.

Southgate said: "We are all delighted that Woodgate is back in the England squad. He's been brilliant for us and it's where he deserves to be.

"But he has a specific training programme and it's important that he sticks to it. We have made England aware of this so that he can do what he normally does with us.

"Woodgate doesn't do a lot of training early in the week, but concentrates on his exercises.

"He felt tight after the game against Arsenal on Saturday and it's important that he doesn't try to do too much until he feels ready.

"But Steve McClaren is absolutely with us on this one. He wants a fit Woodgate just as much as we do."

Woodgate is expected to be handed 45 minutes of action in the friendly at Old Trafford.

He will then hopefully return fully fit for Boro's crunch test at Chelsea on Saturday.

Woodgate warmed up with another superb individual performance as Boro were held by Champions League chasing Arsenal at the Riverside.

Southgate said: "The better the quality of the opposition, the better Woodgate seems to play.

"He has such an influence on the players around him and to limit Arsenal's world class strikers to one goal ( which I feel we could have done better to cut out ( speaks volumes."

The 1-1 draw maintained Boro's unbeaten run in 2007, though Southgate admitted his players felt as if they had lost after being pegged back.

He said: "The good thing is we are disappointed with a point, and that shows the progress we are making. …

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