Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: HUTH'S BACK; Defender's Big Impact Gives Southgate Selection Dilemma

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: HUTH'S BACK; Defender's Big Impact Gives Southgate Selection Dilemma

Article excerpt

Byline: By ERIC PAYLOR

GARETH Southgate today revealed pounds 6m defender Robert Huth had forced his way into first-team contention for the crucial clash with Portsmouth.

The Boro boss praised the German international for his committed approach since returning from a long lay-off through injury.

Huth played the whole of the second half at Birmingham and was one of the few Boro players to make an impact. Now Southgate is considering including him tomorrow was Boro bid to avoid a third consecutive defeat.

Southgate said: "Robert has worked hard to get himself fully fit again and he will be all the better for that half at Birmingham.

"He hasn't had much time on the field but he has to come into consideration after what he did on Boxing Day. He's strong and he's quick for a big lad. He had a physical presence for us."

Southgatemay still have to switch around his formation if he is to accommodate Huth.

Jonathan Woodgate remains a crucial part of the side, while David Wheater has been the find of the season. Wheater was feeling ill during the first half at St Andrew's and made way for Huth at the interval, but the Redcar lad is fine again.

At the same time Southgate has to do something to inspire a side currently lacking in self-belief.

The manager said: "We let ourselves down at Birmingham, but the one thing I haven't had time to do is sit down and analyse exactly what went wrong. We got stuck in the blocks and that's something we must avoid at Portsmouth.

"I'll make any changes which I feel are necessary, but the most important thing is that our attitude and our application must be spot on."

Southgate must make at least one change because George Boateng is suspended.

The skipper played on the right flank for much of the game at Birmingham, before switching inside when Julio Arca moved out to the flank. …

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