Professional hospital patient, and occasional footballer, Jonathan Woodgate has recently been made first team coach at my beloved Middlesbrough FC. Before you start coming out with the classic ‘he’ll still find a way to get injured’ or ‘I bet he gets sent off and scores own goals in training’ let’s take the time to consider the appointment itself.
Woodgate in his day was actually an international calibre centre back. Unfortunately for him his own career has been ruined by a two minute YouTube clip of his debut at Real Madrid where he gets sent off, but not before scoring an own goal. Woody also had his career ruined by injuries but let’s not forget he had spells of successes at Newcastle, Leeds, Boro and Spurs. Plus he actually got signed by Real Madrid, how many Englishmen can say that?
While it may sound ridiculous now I genuinely believe that had Woodgate stayed injury free he could have been as good as Rio Ferdinand and John Terry or at the very least Jamie Carragher. Unfortunately, he didn’t and he ended up retiring last year. Woody was an excellent centre back and given how well he knows the club and how good a defender he war, his appointment seems a no brainer.
Dig a little deeper and Woodgate’s appointment is perhaps a little more intriguing. Firstly Woody is brother in law to Stewart Downing, the man who fell out with Aitor Karanka and led the alleged player rebellion that led to the Spaniard leaving. Moreover, the reason he did not receive a coaching position last summer was due to the fact he had fallen out with Karanka, again it was Woody and Downing who apparently led the player’s rebellion prior to the Charlton game last season. A game that Karanka missed due to being put on gardening leave, which is a very odd expression now that I think about it.
It is clear that Woodgate is a popular figure in the dressing room, and if you have ever seen an interview with him he seems like a lovely guy. Woody clearly cares a lot about the club that he grew up supporting but there are a few aspects of his appointment that just do not sit well with me. Regardless there’s really not much time to speculate as Boro have got serious work to do if they want to stay in the Premier League.