Despite coming up through the Middlesbrough academy in 2018, Nathan Wood is yet to make the impact he would like at the club.
The defender had a frustrating season this year after a loan move to Hibernian that didn’t work out for him.
It left him unable to go on loan again due to the two clubs a season rule and subjected him to a season of U23s football.
However at only 19-years-old, the youngster has plenty of time to prove himself and with the departures of Sol Bamba and Lee Peltier, should he do well in pre-season then he may get his chance.
Furthermore, despite not yet getting much game time, Wood feels as though he is already starting to become a leader and has credited Ben Gibson for being the role model he needed.
When picking his best Boro five-a-side team, speaking in the match day programme (via Teesside Live) he said: “I’ll have Gibbo as my organiser, my ball-playing defender. He was class, Ben. He was a role model to me and what will never ever leave me is how he was with me when I was 15, 16 and starting to train with the first team.
“I’d feel like the smallest person on Earth training with people I’d looked up to for years, but he made such an effort with me and just treated me like a normal lad. Now when a new face comes in, I’ll give everything I can to make them feel the way he made me feel. I can’t put into words how much I appreciated it, he’s a real leader. George friend was another like that, to be fair.”
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Despite leaving Middlesbrough in 2018, for Burnley it’s clear that Ben Gibson has had a lasting impact on players at his former club which is a credit to him as a leader.
Gibson now finds himself with Norwich City and will be back at the Riverside next season when newly relegated Norwich pay a visit.
Furthermore, for Wood to be able to now feel as though he is emerging as a leader at the club because of this is crucial for his development both on and off the pitch and can help to form the kind of player he becomes.
Being a leader at a football club is more than just an on the pitch duty and to have a good relationship with your teammates really counts for something in terms of having an impact off the pitch too.
With some space at centre-back now, Wood will be looking to have an impressive pre-season in the hope that he can have a bigger role to play next season and burst through to the first-team.