Jonathan Woodgate was at Real Madrid, won England caps and played in the Champions League, however nothing in his profession has so far felt better leading out his hometown team for a director.
The prior defender took control in the club in the summer following the death of Tony Pulis, whom he had served under as a coach for 18 weeks. He knows the significance of the club.
“Just getting the task in the first place made me immensely proud,” Woodgate told Sky Bet. “To be the director of my hometown club, who I have supported since I was six, it’s a massive accomplishment for me.
“I’m looking after the full shop today, being the most important person, and it is simply an extraordinary feeling to see your team play, particularly on a matchday if you’ve got your fans supporting you. It’s a feeling of satisfaction that is pure.
“When I was a player the responsibility was huge, but that is much larger. You’ve got the duty of the city and everybody is looking at you. You walk to the stores or visit the butchers and it there is and it’s constantly in your face. But I am actually enjoying it relishing the challenge”
Woodgate, in the latter phases of his career, had a short spell at Stoke in the Premier League. He played in his profession some incredible supervisors, but credits the Boro and Stoke boss among the very best.
“When I joined Stoke as a participant I believed that I was the bee’s lips turning up there,” says Woodgate. “Don’t get me wrong, I had been a standard lad, but I thought that I understood everything about defending at that point.
“I then spent a year with Tony and everything he taught defensively, concerning structure, organisation and also that which he could get out of a group of gamers, was unbelievable. It had been basic in me wanting to become a coach and a manager.”
Pulis is additionally credited by woodgate as playing a large part in his rise to the top job in the Riverside Stadium.
“It didn’t feel awkward because I had his backing,” the former protector lasted. “He had spoken to me previously saying if he did go he’d push me because he believed I could get it done, which was enormous for me.
“He’s a leading guy, he would allow me to take shape sessionswhich was a charm for him since he had been so hands-on, and would let me have meetings with gamers. He really pushed me into it.”
There’s one supervisor, however, who Woodgate will not forget. The Sir Bobby Robson, that brought him at 2003 to Newcastle, shone through with his excitement and he handled his players.
“I attempt to take the good bits from all my different managers,” said Woodgate. “Bobby Robson’s man-management capabilities, by way of instance, in how he collaborated with his players and the way he made you believe, were next to none.
“Even at 70 he’d be on the training pitch doing drills and showing how he wanted them done. He had in, day out. If you were not playing he would bring you but as you’re walking out he’d make you feel good you were.
“If you’re able to find the players playing for you then it is a massive thing.”
The effort and endeavour of middlesbrough this season may be faulted, however, results haven’t been great. 10 points are picked up from his first 10 games.
But does he feel pressure due to his relations? He knows that when he can find the option for success then it will mean all the more, although he admits it does play a role, and will affect his life at home.
“I have never handled anywhere this is all I understand, but the strain is large,” he said. “I try to not carry it home with me but sometimes it’s difficult. I have got a boy and a three-year-old woman, but sometimes if telephone rings you need to answer this, it could be on your head for the rest of the day. You visit the shop and a person is talking about it to you .
“I try to be as regular as I can, me and [former footballer and friend] Graeme Lee still take my son’s group. He’s the director and I’m his assistant!
“I understand I am in a really privileged place, I’ve been a participant and now I’m the manager of the soccer team. So I try to return to the kids and grassroots soccer in Middlesbrough, it’s a region and success this is really tough to find. It’s a massive feeling”
Woodgate understands how lucky he is to get a chairman at Steve Gibson who will show patience. He is a young manager at only 39 and he knows he’ll make mistakes.
“It is a learning process, however I am at the start of my trip and I need time , and I think I will get that from our chairman, which is the biggest thing,” he said.
“We’ve got a top chairman here and also I believe in Middlesbrough we need to be thankful. We’ve got a chairman from Middlesbrough who’s enjoying it running a supervisor along with the team in the real estate investment in Middlesbrough.
“We have also got a player [Dael Fry] that has captained the side and came in the academy. He can be from a real estate investment in Middlesbrough and performed from U8s. These are foundations for the golf club.
“The fans could relate to me, they could relate to the chairmanthey could associate to our gamers, and I believe that’s really critical for the team moving forward. The lovers can relate to the group.”
He hopes that his connections with the club, where he spent the last four years of his acting career, will give him the patience from supporters he feels he wants to take Boro back into where they belong.
“The truth is that we have just been at the Premier League once in ten decades, and everyone looks at us as though it’s this huge club,” he explained. “We’re buying younger players and we need to construct something now that is ready to go in the Premier League if that’s, then sustain that.
“This is the important eyesight for me for where I want us to be.”