Jonathan Woodgate dedication impresses Tony Mowbray

Jonathan Woodgate

Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray has praised the dedication of defender Jonathan Woodgate, who has continued to play despite his father's death.

Former England centre-back Woodgate's father Alan passed away on the eve of the new season, but the 33-year-old has not missed a league game.

"Jonathan has done very little training, [having] put his father to rest," Mowbray told BBC Tees.

"To be able to switch off and perform like that is testament to him."

He continued: "When you have the talent he has, of course, the game comes easy. He's a fabulous guy, who is desperate for the club to do well."

The Teessiders have won one, drawn one and lost one of their opening three matches in the Championship, with Saturday's 1-1 draw against Blackpool leaving them 11th in the table.

Swiss goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler was handed a first league start for Boro in the match, 12 months after joining the club following a successful trial.

The 24-year-old was brought on as a substitute in the win at Charlton, and retained his place in the starting line-up after England Under-21 goalkeeper Jason Steele failed a late fitness test.

"We left him [Steele] as long as we could during the week and he had a test where we thought he would be ok," Mowbray continued.

"He ultimately wasn't, he found it difficult to push off and scans indicated he had a slight tear above the ankle so we couldn't play him.

"It was important for Leutwiler to test himself and for me to see him in live action. He's been here a year, but Jason played every game last year and Leutwiler sat on the bench,

Mowbray added: "It was good for us to look at him and assess him in first team football now he's getting the opportunity."

Top Stories