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‘It has been a baptism of fire’ – 39-year-old’s start at Middlesbrough: The verdict

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This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Middlesbrough get back to Championship action following the international break at the weekend, when they entertain Reading, with Jonathan Woodgate’s side looking to get their stuttering start to the season back on track and improve on the 18th spot they currently find themselves.

Woodgate, 39, was appointed permanent manager at the Riverside in the summer following the departure of Tony Pulis, having spent two years at the club in a variety of coaching roles.

So how can Woodgate’s start to life as Boro manager be best summed up?

We discuss……..

Louie Chandler

“It has been a baptism of fire really, hasn’t it?

“In a short space of time, Woodgate has managed to experience every emotion and dynamic that usually comes over the course of two or three seasons.

“He has been praised for how he is trying to set-up his team but also hammered for how his team have been performing.

“He will undoubtedly be frustrated but I think he has plenty of supporters at board level and just needs to keep the faith in what he is trying to do.”

Ned Holmes

“All in all it’s been a tough start for Woodgate. 18th in the Championship is certainly not where he will have wanted to be after six games.

“He is trying to change the style of play at the club and he will have known that it was not going to be easy.

“However, I don’t think Woodgate would’ve been expecting results to have been this bad.

“He needs to start getting good results soon or the pressure is going to start to seriously mount.”

Chris Thorpe

“I think it has been a so-so beginning to Woodgates rein, it was obviously going to be tough taking over from an experienced manager in Tony Pulis.”

“You can see that Woodgate is trying to play fluent, attacking football, but sometimes you have to play more direct to get the points you need to build on during the rest of the season.”

“Holding onto the likes of Dael Fry will certainly prove crucial if they are to mount any kind of unlikely play off push this season.”

“Lastly, I believe that Woodgate will look to strengthen his squad in January, with perhaps another forward coming in, finances permitting of course!”

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