Middlesbrough had a good season last year and in the end were unlucky to miss out on the play-offs after taking it to the final day of the campaign.
One player who stood out for Boro last season was captain Jonny Howson. He was a mainstay in the side making 45 league appearances in which time he scored once and provided four assists.
The midfielder has proved to be a reliable presence in the squad, so it comes as no surprise that Chris Wilder opted to extend his contract.
The 34-year-old is pleased to have committed his future to the club and admitted his focus was very much on Boro, as he told Teesside Live: “I’ve enjoyed my time here, so to get offered another deal and get it sorted is very pleasing. I’m looking forward to the season ahead now.
“I didn’t speak to another club or anything like that, but I suppose whenever you’re coming towards the end of a contract, there’s always a chance you might have to move on. That’s from both sides. The club might want to go in a different direction, you might get an offer that persuades you that you want something different. I guess you never know, but there was nothing like that even got talked about. I’m happy here, and I was happy to discuss a new deal. Finally, it got sorted.”
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Howson was a core part of Wilder’s side last season and that’s something he’s hoping to continue next year, as he said: “Throughout my career, I’ve always said that I just want to play football. That’s always been the biggest thing. Since the manager has come in, he’s played me in all the games, so that’s really the be all and end all. I want to play, and I was obviously doing that last season.
“You’re never guaranteed a spot, and you should never just think that you’re going to start weeks in, week out because you’ve got to go and prove it day in, day out on the training pitch. That’s what it’s all about.
“I didn’t talk to any other clubs, so there wasn’t really anything else that I had to consider.
“I was extremely disappointed after the last game of the season because I wanted another crack at the play-offs, and another chance to possibly get back into the Premier League and be successful again. I want to have success as a team, and here at Middlesbrough, that means getting promoted. It was disappointing that we didn’t do that last season, but hopefully we can have a successful season this one.”
Howson’s new contract is positive news for Middlesbrough as they look ahead to next season. Not only did he prove to be reliable for the side last year but he is also a leader both on and off the pitch, which is what you want in a side pushing for promotion.
Furthermore, it’s clear to see that the 34-year-old is happy at the club and was eager to stay throughout the summer, so his whole mind is focused on what’s happening at Middlesbrough and the task that lies ahead.
The captain has set an ambitious target for his side next season and will no doubt be working as hard as possible to reach the Premier League with the club next year.