Middlesbrough have appointed former defender Jonathan Woodgate as their new head coach, the club confirmed on Friday morning.
The statement read that Woodgate will lead a new-look coaching set-up at the club, which will include Robbie Keane, Leo Percovich and Danny Coyne.
Woodgate started his playing career in the Middlesbrough academy before he joined Leeds at a young age. He then returned to the club for two years between 2006 and 2008, before re-joining in 2012 and eventually ending his career on Teesside.
The 39-year-old earned a reputation in his playing career as a no-nonsense centre-back, but he will now aim to establish a fresh identity at Boro following Tony Pulis’ departure at the end of last season.
Woodgate’s appointment has received a mixed reaction from Boro fans, but it has gone down very well with one of the club’s former defenders.
Ben Gibson started his career at the Riverside Stadium and was one of the club’s key figure before his departure to Burnley last year. He has now spoken out on his delight with the appointment:
— Ben Gibson (@bengibson1993) June 14, 2019
Gibson said he “couldn’t be happier” with the appointment, and he described Woodgate as “an absolute diamond.” The defender made over 200 appearances for Boro between 2010 and 2018, but he has failed to establish himself at Burnley since joining the club last August.
Gibson’s reaction to the appointment clearly shows the impact Woodgate had on his career while the 26-year-old was learning his trade with the Teesside outfit.
Woodgate is clearly a respected figure among his peers and his reputation at Boro means he will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the dressing room, despite his lack of managerial experience.
Gibson’s tweet may even serve to fuel speculation regarding a potential switch to Boro next season, as he has really struggled to make his mark at Burnley.