Middlesbrough promotion Jonathan Woodgate's priority

Jonathan Woodgate
Jonathan Woodgate won eight caps for England during his international career

Defender Jonathan Woodgate is happy to sacrifice his own first-team ambitions for promotion success with Championship leaders Middlesbrough this season.

Woodgate, 35, has played just twice for his hometown club this term as Daniel Ayala, Ben Gibson and Chelsea loanee Ken Omeruo have been preferred instead.

Their combinations have helped Boro to an overall tally of 14 clean sheets and a division-low 20 goals conceded.

"If Boro get into the Premier League, job done," Woodgate told BBC Tees.

"If I don't play, I don't play. I'm at the age now where I look at the bigger picture.

"It's not about me, it's about the team and the young lads - Ben, Ken and Danny - whoever is playing at the back, they're doing fantastic.

"I don't deserve to play if they're playing that well."

The former Real Madrid and Newcastle United centre-back, who also won eight England caps, is under contract during his second full-time spell at the Riverside until this summer.

His second start of the season was marked by a goal in Tuesday's 2-1 victory at Blackpool, a result which pushed Boro to the top of the Championship.

"It's a long way to go, don't get excited," said Woodgate.

"We've got so many games to come, we're pushing in the right direction but we can improve."

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