Middlesbrough midfielder Jonny Howson has outlined the delight he gets for playing under his childhood hero, Jonathan Woodgate.
Jonny Howson and Jonathan Woodgate have one key thing in common at Middlesbrough, which is that they spent a major part of their career at Leeds United. Howson began his career in the Leeds academy back when the Whites were struggling in League One last decade, while Woodgate was part of the star-studded Leeds side challenging in the Champions League semi-finals.
Fortunes for both at Middlesbrough are much different than they were when they were at Leeds, however, with the Teesside club looking to stave off relegation to League One is Woodgate’s first season in management.
The experienced midfielder will have been just 10-years-old when Woodgate made his debut for Leeds and he has always idolised the towering defender, meaning it will have been a dream come true when he saw his side appoint Woodgate as their new manager.
Howson joined Middlesbrough in 2017 and has been a regular ever since as the club look to bounce back from Premier League relegation, while Woodgate has been part of the coaching staff since the March just before Howson’s summer arrival.
Speaking on BBC Tees, Howson commented on what it was like to meet a person he has idolised since his youth, where he said: “I’m not ashamed to admit it, he was one of my heroes.
“I would go down to Elland Road and watch him. I’d be on the park playing as him on the park. Now for him to be my manager is very strange and a bit surreal at times.
“Sometimes people never get to meet their heroes but I’m glad I have.”
It is positive to see such a strong connection between player and manager in a way that doesn’t have to be forged at a specific club, with Woodgate and Howson sharing a bond over their times at Leeds United.
They will both be hoping that they can turn around the fortunes of their current club, however, as Boro desperately look to climb out of the relegation zone, before it becomes too late.
Howson and Woodgate won’t have to wait long before they are reunited with a club they both hold very close to themselves when they face Leeds at Elland Road in just over a week’s time.