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Key battle: Jonathan Woodgate on Walker v Downing

Posted on 23 September 2016  - 18:00

Our ‘key battle’ feature continues as we travel to Middlesbrough and the perfect person to look at the match-up between Kyle Walker and Stewart Downing - former Boro defender and our 2008 League Cup hero, Jonathan Woodgate.

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woody200x300Jonathan Woodgate

113 matches in two spells at Middlesbrough, 2006-08, 2012-15
64 matches for Spurs, 2008-11
Scored winner in League Cup Final, 2008
Eight caps for England

The battle

Woody: “Stewart has arguably been the best player this season for Middlesbrough. I’ve watched four of the five games so far and he’s been in good form. Kyle Walker is a fantastic talent, quick, gets forward really well, so it’s going to be an intriguing battle.”

Running men

Woody: “Stewart can run back with Kyle and run him the other way, that’s why it will be so interesting. He will be able to keep up with Kyle and he will track him, he does his defensive duties really well. It will be nice to see him try to push Kyle the other way as well. It’s a really good battle and if Stewart keeps Kyle quiet, Middlesbrough’s chances of winning the game will increase.”

Below: Stewart Downing in action for Boro this season

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Spurs 'have matchwinners'

Woody: “The first goal is always vital and looking at Spurs, Harry Kane is out, so that’s a big plus for Middlesbrough, but Vincent Janssen will be hungry and you’ve the likes of Dele Alli, Lamela, Eriksen, Son did well at Stoke - these are all matchwinners. Middlesbrough have to match Spurs in midfield and I really like Spurs’ central defensive pair of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, they’ve impressed me. It's a tough one for Boro, without question.”

Below: Kyle Walker

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Verdict

Woody: “Spurs will be favourites for the game but don’t be surprised if Middlesbrough turn up and take something out of it. They’ve had two straight defeats so they’ll have the bit between their teeth and the manager will have worked them hard all week. They will be right up for it.”