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#FirstTeam #FACup #PreMatch #Middlesbrough

Analysis - George Caulkin on Woody, the manager

Tue 14 January 2020, 10:48|Tottenham Hotspur

We all remember Jonathan Woodgate, the classy defender who won us the League Cup in the 2008, and 'Woody', the character around the Club during his spell here from 2008-2011.

But what about Jonathan Woodgate, the manager? George Caulkin, doyen of football writing in the North East, has followed closely Woody's step into management and in a recent feature for The Athletic, shadowed him during our initial FA Cup third round tie at the Riverside.

Ahead of our third round replay this evening, we asked George what he had made of Woody the boss at Boro...

George Caulkin on Woody

"Jonathan is close to the players and that’s part of his technique. It was very interesting to be in the tunnel an hour before kick-off in the first tie against Spurs and seeing Jonathan very much in there and part of it. I’ve been on the training ground with him and there is a lot of the philosophy that he picked up from Terry Venables and Sir Bobby Robson that ‘practice makes permanent’ and so it’s repetition and drills in training.

"He’s trying to instil a different style, a more front foot style, and there is excitement about that. They press really high, they want the ball, they play out. He wants to excite the crowd. It’s his team and right from the start, he’s always been in the technical area and he’ll stay there. He won’t move from there. I asked him about that at the start of the season and he said, ‘this is who I am, I’m front of shop’ and I think the players appreciate that.

"He’s a Middlesbrough lad and there is that connection to the club and the fans. He will want to showcase the club and the team tonight and both he and Robbie Keane are back on familiar ground at Spurs, albeit at a different stadium. They will want to have a go. I don’t think it’s a shot to nothing for Boro exactly, but no-one will expect them to go through, so why not have a go? I’m sure that will be his mindset."

George has been reporting on football in the North East of England since 1994, 21 of those years for The Times. He's Senior Writer at The Athletic, specialising in North East football. He's also a Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.