Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: No-One Wants to Leave Us Now! on the Boro Beat after Winning over Those Who Doubted Him, Southgate Insists:

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: No-One Wants to Leave Us Now! on the Boro Beat after Winning over Those Who Doubted Him, Southgate Insists:

Article excerpt

GARETH SOUTHGATE is confident of keeping his best players this summer after winning over the elements of his squad who doubted his ability.

The Boro boss admits certain players would "try it on" when he took charge as a rookie nearly two years ago but he has slowly put his own imprint on the club.

Mark Viduka and Yakubu left at the end of Southgate's first season for varying reasons but the rest have bought into the manager's philosophy and determination to improve standards.

"Nobody leaves the club unless we think it is the right thing for the future of the club," said Southgate.

"Hopefully they can see what we are trying to do.

"A couple of boys wanted to move on last summer and sometimes you can't hold them. You have to keep evolving anyway.

"The two strikers got us out of jail last year on many occasions but the overall team is stronger because everyone is having to contribute."

Southgate's learning curve in his first two years as a manager has been steep but he has emerged as a homegrown boss of huge potential.

He was told a year ago, while taking his manager qualifications, that the average job lasts 18 months.

"I knew it was a one-year course and I had been on the job a year," he said. "It didn't look promising for finishing the course, never mind anything else."

Southgate also knew it was not just the fans he had to prove himself to.

He added: "The guys who have played, with the youngsters coming through, some try it on a bit and some are taking a step back to say 'is he up to it?' "Only by good results and making the right decisions can you prove that."

In the last month he has looked every inch a Premier League boss - pushing Chelsea to the limit, going eyeball-to-eyeball with Sir Alex Ferguson and giving his players a dressing down at half-time against Tottenham.

"At half-time we got a rollicking because they were all over us at times," said winger Stewart Downing. …

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