Jonathan Woodgate on being sacked by Middlesbrough and why Conte can finish Tottenham’s trophy drought

Jonathan Woodgate is approaching the two-year anniversary of one of many hardest days of his profession. 

The previous Tottenham defender was sacked by his boyhood membership Middlesbrough in what was his first ever stint as a supervisor again in summer season 2020 on the top of the primary lockdown.    

Boro had simply returned from the three-month soccer shutdown however Woodgate’s destiny had already been hanging within the steadiness following a winless run of 13 video games, leaving his facet out of the relegation zone on purpose distinction. 

From the excessive of being appointed by his beloved native staff to the crushing low of being let go throughout a time the place many individuals have been already feeling remoted and determined was tough to take. 

Woodgate – who’s spreading consciousness about discussing psychological well being in sport in affiliation with CALM (Marketing campaign In opposition to Residing Miserably) – admits he struggles to come back to phrases with a second the place he feels he ‘let folks down’.  

The former Middlesbrough defender was sacked by his boyhood club during lockdown in 2020

Jonathan Woodgate has opened up on his struggles after being sacked by his boyhood membership Middlesbrough on the top of lockdown

Woodgate's side had gone 13 games without a win before he was sacked after football's three-month shutdown during Covid pandemic

Woodgate’s facet had gone 13 video games and not using a win earlier than he was sacked after soccer’s three-month shutdown throughout Covid pandemic

‘June the twenty third – that was the precise date,’ he instructed Sportsmail forward of the launch of the second sequence of the Below the Floor podcast, with menswear model Authentic Penguin in assist of CALM. 

‘I’ll by no means recover from that date. It was actually powerful, we have been in Covid on the time. I did discover it onerous as a result of it’s your hometown membership and you’re feeling you’ve let folks down. You would possibly get mauled for per week or so and then you definitely’ve acquired to get on with it – reboot your self and transfer on to your subsequent plan. 

‘For those who hold pondering time and again what went flawed and what you could possibly’ve carried out higher, you’re going to make it worse for your self. You discover it powerful however you must transfer on fast.’

Warnock took the reins from Woodgate and led Boro to security, whereas the previous England worldwide targeted on his household, although breaking the information to his son – a die-hard Middlesbrough fan – was notably soul-crushing. 

Woodgate admits he will struggle to get over the day he lost his dream job at Boro and spoke out about the pain of having to tell his son

Woodgate admits he’ll battle to recover from the day he misplaced his dream job at Boro and spoke out concerning the ache of getting to inform his son  

‘My precedence was my household and my youngsters weren’t at college,’ he added. ‘It was all concerning the youngsters and I’m glad they weren’t at college as a result of they might have gotten sly banter. 

‘My son was gutted. He was a Middlesborough fan as effectively. He cherished going to the video games so it was onerous for him as effectively.’

Woodgate – a former captain of Tottenham and Boro – insists he’s unflappable and might deal with stress and setbacks, however has urged any participant or supervisor who’s combating their psychological well being to get their ideas out and communicate to somebody. 

‘It’s actually vital as a result of gamers do battle,’ he says. ‘With the pressures on the sport nowadays, you gained’t all the time get gamers who’re precisely the identical. Some have sturdy mentalities and a few don’t. If a participant has a extremely sturdy mentality he would possibly nonetheless be struggling inside. The stress – whether or not you’re enjoying or your injured – might be actually powerful. 

See also  Lisa Nandy urges Keir Starmer to again away from Partygate row over ‘out of contact’ look

‘If there’s somebody struggling with their psychological well being, go and communicate to somebody, whether or not it’s a good friend or whoever. Speak in confidence to them, and see in the event that they can assist you and level you in the fitting path. 

The former England star has urged players and managers to seek help if they are struggling with their mental health

The previous England star has urged gamers and managers to hunt assist if they’re combating their psychological well being 

‘I’m fairly resolute. I feel to myself “what can be can be”. I used to be devastated for per week [after being sacked] however I’ve the power to maneuver on and never give it some thought.   

‘I didn’t communicate to anybody about it. It’s totally different folks coping with various things. You get folks ringing you asking how you’re. Clearly I’m gutted however I’ll recover from it – that’s how I have a look at it.’

Woodgate had sufficient stress to get ends in the dugout because it was, however his life was made much more tough by the stick he was getting away from the pitch – with one Boro fan heckling him at his son’s Sunday League recreation. 

‘I used to be managing my child’s staff on a Sunday with Graeme Lee – who’s simply been sacked by Hartlepool – and I acquired some abuse from Middlesborough followers, as a result of we acquired beat the day earlier than. This can be a recreation at grassroots degree. You all the time get one particular person like that in each stroll of life. However you’ve acquired to dam it out and keep targeted.

‘If you’re on the sidelines you don’t actually discover something, followers providing you with abuse. Generally once you watch the video games on Sky and also you see one of many gamers get actually near the gang and so they’re completely abusing him. I have a look at it now and suppose “oh my god”. However as footballers you must take the abuse.’

Woodgate joined Real Madrid in 2004 but he didn't play for the first year due to injury

Woodgate joined Actual Madrid in 2004 however he didn’t play for the primary 12 months attributable to damage

Woodgate had some nice highs in his profession – scoring the profitable purpose for Tottenham in opposition to Chelsea within the 2008 League Cup last – whereas he performed practically 400 video games throughout a profession that noticed him snapped up by Actual Madrid.

However whereas shifting to the Bernabeu must be a footballer’s dream, Woodgate’s transfer in 2004 was one thing of a nightmare in a spell that was mired by accidents and struggles to hit prime type. 

He lived alone within the Spanish capital after being signed from Newcastle for round £13million and had missed everything of the primary season attributable to damage.

Almost a 12 months later, he lastly made his debut in opposition to Athletic Bilbao however had a horror first recreation – scoring an personal purpose and later getting despatched off for a second yellow. 

Woodgate insists he was not affected by that notorious recreation – saying what he actually struggled with was his fixed battle to remain match after becoming a member of ‘the most important membership on the earth’. He acquired stick from the Spanish media – however fortunately for Woodgate – he didn’t perceive the language sufficient to learn it.

See also  ANDREW NEIL: Our crumbling economic system is a far larger hazard to PM than a birthday cake

‘The debut was no drawback in any respect as a result of I used to be again match and I wasn’t bothered about that,’ he says. ‘However the time earlier than that, once you’ve joined the most important membership on the earth and also you don’t play for a 12 months – that was tough. 

The move ended up being a nightmare as he scored an own goal and was sent off on his debut

The transfer ended up being a nightmare as he scored an personal purpose and was despatched off on his debut

‘I used to be fortunate sufficient as a result of I didn’t communicate the language so I couldn’t learn what the newspapers have been saying!  That was the toughest half about being in Spain – being injured, as a result of you already know you can also make a distinction. I couldn’t try this for a 12 months and it was a difficult time.’

Woodgate says psychological well being has turn out to be a lot greater on the agenda within the current day, however feels again when he was a participant any issues he had would have been swiftly dismissed, and is glad gamers will now get an arm around the shoulder and given the assistance they want.  

‘Again then in case you went to a supervisor and mentioned “that is powerful” – he’d say “you have to toughen up a bit”,’ Woodgate provides. ‘I’m certain if I acquired a knock on my door and one of many gamers mentioned to me “pay attention gaffer, I’m struggling a bit mentally”, you’d have extra of an arm round him and also you’d level him within the path the place he’d get assist.’

Woodgate – who retired from soccer in 2016 – has since bounced again from his axing by Boro and had a profitable stint as Bournemouth boss as interim supervisor following the sacking of Jason Tindall in February 2021, simply eight months after dropping his personal job on the Riverside Stadium.

Woodgate has bounced back from his Boro sacking with an impressive spell at Bournemouth

Woodgate has bounced again from his Boro sacking with a formidable spell at Bournemouth

He was capable of stabilise the staff and led them to the Championship play-off locations, finally dropping within the semi-finals in opposition to Brentford – who went on to earn promotion to the Premier League. 

Woodgate didn’t lengthen his keep past the top of that marketing campaign because the Cherries opted for Scott Parker, however he’s intent on pursuing his subsequent problem within the dugout. 

‘It’s about discovering the fitting membership,’ he says. ‘You place your CV out to totally different golf equipment, generally you don’t get a reply again. Generally you get an interview, generally you get all the way down to the ultimate two. It’s important to be open to numerous golf equipment and I’m.’

Woodgate spent arguably essentially the most profitable spell of his profession at Tottenham the place he spent three years from 2008 to 2011, with the attract of a staff difficult for Europe sufficient to go away his beloved Boro. 

Unthinkably, he was the final man to information Spurs to a trophy after his well-known header in opposition to the Blues in 2008 – his first season on the membership – and he admits he’s baffled that the membership haven’t managed to assert any silverware since as they bid to finish their 12-year trophy drought below Antonio Conte.

See also  Blended-race girl is branded ‘too white’ to have an afro

‘Spurs have world-class gamers – I’m certain if that they had stored these gamers, Bale, Modric [they could have done better] – but it surely’s onerous to maintain these gamers,’ Woodgate says. 

Woodgate was the last person to win Tottenham a trophy, stretching back to 2008, after a famous header against Chelsea in the Carling Cup final

Woodgate was the final particular person to win Tottenham a trophy, stretching again to 2008, after a well-known header in opposition to Chelsea within the Carling Cup last

He feels Tottenham will reclaim silverware if Antonio Conte can bring consistent performances

He feels Tottenham will reclaim silverware if Antonio Conte can convey constant performances

‘Now you’ve acquired a world-class supervisor in Conte. He’ll hopefully convey Spurs trophies. Pochettino did an unbelievable job when he was there. To get to the Champions League last. He completed second one 12 months, third place behind Leicester – that might have been their alternative. Pochettino was good with a younger aggressive staff led by Kane. However they need to have gained trophies, they need to have.’

Woodgate’s 2007-08 facet had high quality gamers – the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane and Ledley King – however they completed eleventh that season and Spurs have had much better gamers with out profitable something. 

The previous Leeds and Newcastle man mentioned the staff merely believed they might ‘beat anybody’ however lacked consistency. Tottenham had comparable struggles in that space final season, with Conte initially failing to breed common wins.

‘Consistency wins you titles,’ he provides. ‘It doesn’t win you cups as a result of you’ll be able to play good within the third spherical and never so effectively within the fourth spherical and nonetheless undergo. Within the league you have to be strong each recreation.

‘Spurs have simply completed fourth so that they’ve carried out rather well. When Conte first got here in I didn’t suppose they might do it however he’s carried out a powerful job. I feel they’ve had a extremely good season.’

Woodgate feels Conte has Spurs on track for success after bringing 'balance' to the team

Woodgate feels Conte has Spurs on observe for achievement after bringing ‘steadiness’ to the staff

Woodgate is a giant admirer of Cristian Romero since arriving on the membership from Atalanta and feels he enhances Eric Dier effectively – praising Conte for bringing ‘steadiness’ to his defence in a again three.

He mentioned the Italian had carried out brilliantly to get the followers behind him and feels his ‘settled’ line-up will put Spurs on observe for achievement sooner or later. 

‘I like Romero, I watched him fairly a bit when he was at Atalanta. He’s a entrance foot defender, he’s aggressive. I like his authority. Him and Dier – then you definitely’ve acquired Ben Davies on the left facet, it brings good steadiness. Conte’s improved that three a lot because the begin of the season. 

‘What Conte’s carried out since he’s are available is get the followers proper again on facet. It’s solely since Pochettino that the followers have actually been onside with a supervisor. 

‘I feel what he’s carried out with the formation is stored to a settled facet. The 2 wing-backs he has modified typically, however he’s stored the identical gamers and beliefs and he’s carried out rather well.’ 

Woodgate was talking forward of the discharge of the Below the Floor podcast with Authentic Penguin x CALM (Marketing campaign In opposition to Residing Miserably). To look at the primary episode of sequence two, head to www.originalpenguin.co.uk/pages/calm-underthesurface

Related Posts