Woody’s England Outing Spells Danger For Boro

UH-OH. TYPICAL Boro moment looming. Jonathan Woodgate is back in the England squad for a meaningless friendly. What’s the chances of him being crocked in one of these SAS style Steve McClaren training sessions that used to leave the Boro squad in traction? Or limping out with three minutes left of a pointless bore draw?
It’s not too late to save yourself Woody! Ring in with a bit of a calf tweak. Never has there been a more compelling case for a player to suffer one of those diplomatic injuries so often sustained by Manchester United or Chelsea players before friendlies. A little case of Giggs Knee.


Obviously it is a big thing for Woody to be back in the England fold and, so we are told, a real feather in the cap for the club but I’ll be honest here – I don’t give a toss about England. Or any other national team and unless we are trying to push their retail price up before a sale I’d really rather they didn’t pick Boro players. They always come back injured, their heads filled with magic from Big Club room-mates or demoralised after being savaged by the press.
On a personal level the selection is a watershed moment in Woodgate’s rehabilitation after his long dark years of frustrating injuries. It marks his long awaited return to the very top level that at times must have seemed unlikely so you can fully sympathise with his own desire to play.
But on a purely parochial level an England call-up is bad news for Boro. Woody has played a lot of football since Christmas and more than anyone he could do with the break. He should spend the week stretching, on the massage table and in the hydrotherapy pool at Springs rather than slotting in an unneccessary game when we should be concentrating on Chelsea.
There are other reasons why his presence in an England shirt is unwelcome too. If he plays – and he is virtually certain to get at least 45 minutes – anything like he has done this season then it will be blindingly obvious that he is better than Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Jamie Carragher, Ledley King, Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all.
At Boro, where the tabloid big guns rarely venture and where the weekly two minutes on Match of the Day obscure the reality we have been able to keep his form under wraps. If he shines for England the cat is out of the bag and the opinion former will swing into their agent mode and try to get him a move to a club more fitting to showcase his abilities.
That creates a danger that clubs who have been quietly watching Woodgate, and most the big boys will be or they are not doing their job properly, will be forced to act lest one of their rivals move first. And with Woodgate’s transfer status still very much up in the air – Boro have agreed a price with Madrid but not sealed the deal – the possibility is always there that other clubs will gazump Boro and steal him away.
So come on Woody, ring in sick. Let’s keep it our little secret until the deal is sealed.

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10 thoughts on “Woody’s England Outing Spells Danger For Boro

  1. Vic
    I have to say I agree entirely. Boro first and Eng-er-lund a very poor ‘also ran’.
    I suspect Woody will want to be involved though so can only hope it’s as a 2nd half replacement for either Terry or Ferdinand. Preferrably because Terry ‘feels his back again’ towards half time!
    By then we’ll be in the slow up, lots of subs, ‘after you Claude’ period of the game.
    Gate rightly worries also about Woody not doing too much training early in the week and should insist on this – particularly with The Ex in charge.
    If he doesn’t get the assurance on these we should, as you say, persuade Woody to enjoy a couple of days with the squad and then pull out with a diplomatic knee.
    Just as worried, however, about him being part of a squad for the next 2 qualifiers – one of which involves a journey to Israel.

  2. I totally agree but as it will not happen good luck to Woody.
    I also hope that Downing ignores everything that MacNegative and his coaching staff try to teach him this week.
    MacNegative – ‘you are first and foremost a second left back, do not forget your defensive duties’
    Gareth – ‘you are first and foremost a left winger, help out in defence if you can’
    As you have also said. the national press will already have their scapegoats at the ready, and Downing will be top of the list.
    He need not worry though as if he ever joins Spurs or Man U, he will become a superstar overnight and his crosses into the box will all be of great quality and someone like Andy Johnson will get slated for not been on the end of them.
    As we know these ridiculous friendlies are nothing more than a FA money making scam and we can only hope that all the Boro players on international duty this week return fit and well.
    On another subject, I see that the scum that call themselves supporters in Italy have plummeted to new depths over the weekend, any thoughts?
    **AV writes: Yes, in my column tomrrrow I will renew my call to have Italian teams kicked out of Europe and give an update on the Gazette’s Protect Our Fans campaign.

  3. I am worried that madrid will take note if he has a good game against spain and woodgates agents starts the ball rolling in the press by linking him to lots of clubs.
    Will boro suffer in the long term from woodgate playing so well? can we fight off any interest from big clubs from home and abroad?
    It would be interesting to know if the pre-contract agreement with all parties is water tight or has an option for any party to drop out.
    If for example we have agreed a £6m deal(is the agreed fee a secret) but chelsea come in with £12m can madrid say sod off Boro. or can woodgate turn boro down if barcelona/chelsea show an interest?
    **AV writes: As I understand it Borohave agreed a price with Madrid but there is no binding agreement. There is nothing to stop them also agreeing a price with other clubs and leaving it to Woodgate to decide, or indeed changing their mind completely and persuading him to stay.

  4. Sadly we are between several rocks and an equivalent number of hard places over Woodgate.
    We dont want him to come back injured from England duty but if he stays here he is under the supervision of our physios and medical team.
    If he goes we want him to do well to build up his confidence but he then becomes more marketable.
    If England dont play well he will be savaged by the pond life that masquerades as national journalists because it must be his fault because they cant blame anyone from the big four or London.
    (obviously our own esteemed journalists from Pravda, sorry the Gazette, are excempt from such criticism even if the blogs are airbrushed from cyber history)
    **AV writes: I have retrieved the ‘airbrushed blog’ chewed up by the server on Saturday and prevented me posting at the weekend. It should be back up within half-an-hour.

  5. AV, so it sounds like just a bit of positive PR spin on the side of boro. maybe we should have hoped for another injury ravaged season from woodgate,just enough to put off other clubs then tie him to a long contract with his injuries cleared up.
    Its not the same as the mendieta deal when it was all sorted out water tight. Wonder if lazio were the ones pushing for the mendieta deal to be permanent ;o)

  6. The moment had to come when Woodie was picked for England and as AV rightly points out the cat will be out of the bag. He clearly is in a class of his own where England centre backs are concerned, but there is nothing we can do now except watch the England match and enjoy.
    Then hope when the season ends we are in the UEFA cup (some how!) and he has enjoyed himself so mutch he decides to stay despite a queue of champions league clubs knocking on his door…Straws and clutching, yes I know. Still miracles do sometimes happen.
    Personally I hope Woodie and Downing are on the pitch at the same time for some of the game, as far as I can remember two Boro players have never played together for England in my lifetime (43 years to date).
    Even though I’m not a big England fan it will be a proud moment were it to happen and hopefully Downing will cross for Woodie to score with a header!!

  7. PS An interesting quote from Viduka in todays Times ‘the club will talk to me when we are mathematically safe from relegation…..I would like to stay and I can envisage finishing my career at Middlesbrough. If we keep playing like this, the sky’s the limit’
    That sounds fairly unequivical to me.

  8. So the Woodgate “deal” is not a deal at all? Any of three parties can back out under any pretence whatsoever?
    Sounds like another fine demonstration of negotiation skills from Mr.Lamb (‘s to the slaughter )!
    **AV writes: That is my understanding, that if at the end of the season Woodgate wants to join Boro – and we must hope the club can show enough on and off the field to persuade him that he does – then the fee is already fixed.
    Playing as he is now that sounds like a good deal. Had he been injured and Boro were tied into a big money deal then Lambie would be getting equally slated.

  9. Gosh,talk about paranoia. We want to sign big players and be a big successful club, but don’t want our players representing their countries. What about what Woodgate and Dowling want. If Mr Woodgate wants to remain with his home town.,ambitious club he will, wont he?, thats what ambition does, otherwise lets go back to signing some of the rubbish we’ve had here before. AV, I do however take your point to a degree thats its only a friendly, but even then its supposed to be preparation for the international European qualifiers.

  10. Driving home tonight I heard on BBC Radio 5 that Woodgate has signed a permanent deal with Boro today. Is this true do miracles really happen?
    **AV writes: The news reports I have heard don’t seem to take the situation any further forward from the current state of play – ie a fee and personal terms have been agreed should the player and club still want to go ahead in June.

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