Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Boro Can Now Strive for Bigger and Better Things

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Boro Can Now Strive for Bigger and Better Things

Article excerpt

England defender Jonathan Woodgate committed his future to Middlesbrough after finding happiness back at home.

The 27-year-old yesterday completed a pounds 7m permanent transfer from Real Madrid after signing a four-year deal with the club he supported as a boy.

Woodgate, who joined Real in a pounds 13.4m move from Newcastle United in August 2004 but played only a handful of games for the Spanish aristocrats because of injury, has made a huge impact during a season-long loan deal on Teesside and new instinctively the Riverside Stadium was where he wanted to be.

He said: "I was really enjoying myself and really enjoying the football and the way I was playing. Obviously, the manager has a lot to do with that. I just thought to myself, 'I am really happy, let's get it done, let's get it signed'.

"Something you cannot always get in life is happiness, and that is what I have got. With this club now and the manager and the chairman, we can strive for bigger and better things."

Woodgate revealed he actually made his decision three months ago and knocked on manager Gareth Southgate's door to tell him. The club kept the agreement quiet ( to the extent they denied Real's claims in February that Woodgate had made his move ( but revealed the details at a Press conference yesterday afternoon.

Woodgate said: "I made my mind up about three months ago, to be honest, but we could not really say anything. I went into the manager's office and told him I wanted to sign. I think he was caught unexpectedly when I told him I wanted to sign.

"I am extremely happy. It has been an ambition of mine to play for the club and I am doing that now ( I am going to do that for the next four years. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here working with the manager and all the other players. I am just really happy."

Woodgate has started 33 of the 41 games Boro have played since his arrival last August to put his injury problems firmly behind him. That has helped to revive his England career ( he made his return to the international stage in a friendly against Spain at Old Trafford earlier this year. …

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