Championship strugglers Middlesbrough have appointed Michael Carrick as their new head coach.

The former Manchester United and England midfielder replaces Chris Wilder, who was sacked this month less than a year after taking the Boro hotseat.

Carrick worked under Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford before taking charge of United on a caretaker basis for three games late last year.

The 41-year-old stepped down as Red Devils first-team coach following the arrival of Ralf Rangnick last December and has now been given his first opportunity as a head coach.

"I'm really excited to be here and to be part of a club with such a deep history and tradition," said Carrick.

"Middlesbrough was the first professional club I played for as a nine-year-old boy, so it's a very special feeling to be back here as a head coach.

"Growing up in the north-east myself I'm fully aware of what football means to people. It's a real privilege for me to be in this position and to feel all the passion and enthusiasm you've got for the game and for Boro.

"I'll give everything to help develop the team and keep moving the club forward and make you the supporters proud. I can't wait to get started.”

Carrick has appointed former Boro head coach Jonathan Woodgate as first-team coach of a side languishing just above the relegation zone in 21st place.


Jonathan Woodgate described Real Madrid's remarkable Champions League win against Manchester City as "probably the best [game] I have ever seen".

Madrid lost 4-3 at the Etihad Stadium in their semi-final first leg – an encounter that was widely lauded for its incredible drama.

But further twists and turns were still to come back in Spain, where City led 1-0 on the night and 5-3 on aggregate with less than a minute of normal time to play.

Rodrygo Goes scored twice in the space of 91 seconds to take the tie to extra time, before Karim Benzema's penalty sent Madrid through with a 3-1 home win.

Former Blancos defender Woodgate was amazed by the match but considered it typical of a Madrid team who have become the first to lose games in the last 16, quarter-finals and semis and still make the Champions League final in its existing format.

"What a game of football. It's probably the best I have ever seen," Woodgate told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"You could not write it. Phenomenal football by Real Madrid, and City had no comeback.

"This stadium, these players, they never know when they are beaten. They just keep going right until the end. At 80 minutes, we thought 'game over' – not this crowd, not this team."

City play Newcastle United, another of Woodgate's former teams, next on Sunday, needing to recover quickly to preserve a one-point lead over Liverpool in the Premier League and secure silverware for this season.

But ex-England man Woodgate has his doubts, adding: "It is such a distressing loss. What ramifications does that have on the league? They could blow up after this."

Leeds United will struggle to keep hold of talismanic winger Raphinha, as he could play "right at the top", according to former defender Jonathan Woodgate.

The Brazil international was linked with a big-money move to West Ham in January but has remained at Elland Road, where Leeds face a survival bid.

Only three Premier League players have scored more than Raphinha's eight this season, while he also has two assists, having a hand in 10 of Leeds' 24 goals.

The 25-year-old is excelling on the international stage, too, with three goals and two assists in World Cup qualifying.

In South America, among players with five or more starts, only Neymar (67.5) is averaging fewer minutes per non-penalty goal or assist than Raphinha (84.6).

Woodgate therefore expects bigger clubs than West Ham to come calling at the end of the season.

"[He could play] right at the top. He could play for Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea – not a problem," Woodgate told Stats Perform. "He is outstanding.

"What a signing he's been. They've done a great job on the recruitment side of it to get Raphinha in, and you can see how quick he is, how much he works, but he brings assists and goals with that work rate.

"If you look at wingers, the first thing I look at is how many does he score and how many does he assist, and the bonus is he absolutely works so hard for that team.

"That could be a struggle to keep hold of them if a massive bid comes in for him, which I expect in the summer.

"He was getting linked with different clubs this [January] transfer window, but if a top team comes in for him, it'll be hard to keep him."

West Ham were also linked with Kalvin Phillips, and Woodgate foresees similar issues with his future.

"Again, he could play right at the top," he said. You saw it in at the Euros, but then you look at how much he's developed under Marcelo Bielsa.

"It's flabbergasting to see the improvement in that player since Bielsa came in. It's extraordinary. He's worked so hard on his game.

"It takes buy-in from the player as well, so you've got to congratulate Kalvin Phillips on what he's done, but the work Bielsa has done with him, he's turned him into an outstanding holding midfielder.

"He's getting in the England squad, getting to the final of the Euros playing week in, week out for Leeds. Again, they need to try and keep him.

"How would you keep players? By buying other top players into your club to supplement that and see if you can climb up the league. A bit like we did when I was at Leeds, we kept on buying top players to get to that next level."

Dele Alli made the right decision to leave Tottenham for Everton and can return to his very best at Goodison Park, according to former Spurs defender Jonathan Woodgate.

Alli's seven-year spell at Tottenham came to an end on Monday, leaving for Merseyside in what is said to be an initial free transfer.

Everton will reportedly be obliged to pay £10million for the midfielder after he makes 20 appearances, with subsequent performance-based add-ons that may take the eventual figure as high as £40m.

After signing for Spurs in January 2015, but initially staying at MK Dons on loan, Alli swiftly became a key player under Mauricio Pochettino.

He has failed to maintain that form in recent seasons, though, and Woodgate, who played for Tottenham between 2008 and 2011, believes Alli can return to the peak of his powers under new Toffees boss Frank Lampard.

"I think he needed to get out of Spurs, to be honest with you," Woodgate exclusively told Stats Perform. "I think in the Pochettino era, he was one of the best players in the Premier League. He was in the England squad regularly and sometimes it's just that manager that really believes in you and gives you that confidence to play well.

"I mean, you don't turn into a bad player overnight. Dele Alli will be good again at Everton, no doubt about that, and with the right manager it'll give him more confidence and put him on a platform to put him in the right position for him to go and do what we know he can do.

"Because at Tottenham, he was scoring goals for fun, he was running forward, he was assisting, he moved a bit like a Rolls Royce-type player. He always had time on the ball, but something hasn't gone right from the last few managers. [Jose] Mourinho, [Antonio] Conte and [Nuno Espirito] Santo. In the Pochettino era, he was absolutely outstanding."

Woodgate also weighed in on Harry Kane's failed move to Manchester City in the early weeks of the season, saying he understood the striker's stance.

Having expressed his desire to leave Spurs at the end of last season, the England captain was strongly linked with a record-breaking transfer to the Premier League champions during the transfer window.

But despite City boss Pep Guardiola publicly stating his interest in Kane, a move failed to materialise with Spurs refusing to negotiate.

Kane was heavily criticised by supporters for his position, but Woodgate believes it is only natural he would look elsewhere to get his hands on some silverware.

"I think everyone was surprised at the time," he added. "I think everyone really was because no one envisaged him coming out in the middle of the season saying that he wanted to really leave and go and move on.

"I can see his point because he wants to win the Premier League. Who wouldn't want to win the Premier League? Is he going to do that with Spurs? Not at the minute because they haven't got that calibre of player.

"They've got the right manager in but they need more players like Kane and like Son [Heung-min] to really have a go at the league. But they've got some progression to do. We've got to climb huge steps to get anywhere near the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City at the minute."

Jonathan Woodgate hopes Newcastle United stay patient with Eddie Howe in their long-term bid to become contenders in the Premier League. 

Newcastle have refocused their sights on the top of the table after a lucrative takeover by a consortium backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, the richest owner in world football. 

For now, however, the Magpies are battling relegation under Howe – the first coach appointed by the new owners in November. 

Newcastle were winless when Howe took over and have only added two victories since, remaining in the bottom three with relegation a major concern. 

But after a January transfer window in which Newcastle were the top spenders across Europe, shelling out in the region of £90million for five players, Woodgate believes they will stay up. 

The former Newcastle defender told Stats Perform: "Some of the performances they've produced have been really good – especially at home, they've been decent. 

"Okay, away from home, they've had a few difficult results, but they're a good team. 

"And you need to give Eddie Howe the time to really implement what he wants to do, because he's a fantastic manager." 

That was a sentiment Woodgate repeated when discussing the potential for Newcastle to challenge for the title, as they did during his time at the club between 2003 and 2004. 

"You're looking at five years, five to 10 years," Woodgate said. "It depends on which players you can buy, and hopefully they can stay with Eddie Howe, because I know he can build something there. 

"We had a fantastic team there. We were young, energetic, good players, English players, who really had that hunger. 

"We had great senior players, Gary Speed, Alan Shearer, Shay Given, Steve Harper, at the time, who were really good behind the scenes and good with the young players as well. 

"You need the right balance and the right blend to build a team. We had that in that team in the Bobby Robson era." 

"Balance" is the key again now, Woodgate says, and he believes Newcastle may have found it in January, signing defenders Kieran Trippier, Matt Targett and Dan Burn, midfielder Bruno Guimaraes and striker Chris Wood. 

Himself widely considered Newcastle's best centre-back of the Premier League era, Woodgate sees a player in Burn who has "improved fantastically well". Guimaraes, he suggests, "is a very good signing". 

"I think they needed someone else in the middle of that park to really be hard to play against, because at times Newcastle can be easy to play against," the ex-England man added. 

"Putting [Guimaraes] in the centre of the pitch, it'll be a lot more difficult now for teams to break them down." 

"They've brought in that balance," Woodgate concluded. "They did need two full-backs, they needed a centre-back and they needed a centre-midfielder and centre-forward to help Callum Wilson. 

"So, I think it's been a very good window and they haven't overspent. They haven't spent £200m like everyone thought they would, but they've kept it nice." 

Former Tottenham defender Jonathan Woodgate is stunned that Tottenham managed to hire Antonio Conte as their manager, and believes the Italian has Spurs supporters in the "palm of his hand".

Conte, who left Inter after guiding them to the Serie A title last season, was appointed by Spurs on November 2 following the dismissal of Nuno Espirito Santo.

He has overseen an upturn in their fortunes since then, with Spurs winning six of their 10 Premier League games to force their way back into contention for a Champions League qualification place.

Woodgate, who played for Tottenham between 2008 and 2011, is in awe of Conte's managerial record and says the Spurs hierarchy should give him whatever he wants as he bids to cement the north London club as serious top-four contenders.

"I don't know how they got Conte to be honest with you," he exclusively told Stats Perform. "I don't know how they got him because he's the best manager Spurs will have. Period.

"I think he's an incredible manager. What he did at Chelsea, what he did at Inter, what he did at Juventus, he's managed the national team.

"He signed a contract to the end of next season, so it'll be interesting to see what the off-season brings because I think if it doesn't bring the players that he wants, then it's going to be very interesting. 

"And we know what type of character Antonio Conte is. We know what he's like. He's ruthless in his thinking, he's ruthless in what he wants to do.

"Look what he did last year with Inter, they won the league and he didn't get something in his own way so he left. Because it's either his way or no one's, really. So that's going to be interesting how that plays out.

"He's got the Spurs fans in the palm of his hand. They absolutely adore him, they're eating out of the palm of his hand, because they see his passion on the sideline. 

"And I think that signing of Conte can only bring good times back to Spurs if he's backed and if he gets the right players that he wants."

Despite the signings of Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski from Juventus on transfer deadline day, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy continues to receive criticism from supporters for a perceived lack of investment in the playing squad.

Woodgate, though, thinks Levy deserves more respect for what he has achieved at the club.

"I think everyone needs to start getting off his back, because what he's done for Tottenham has been incredible, really," he added. 

"Bringing Mauricio Pochettino to the club for starters, was a masterstroke. So let's think of what he's done for the club. The new stadium has been absolutely fantastic. He's made money for the club. Harry Kane didn't go; he stopped him from going. 

"Spurs have got to be slightly creative in the transfer market, because they're up against Man City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. So they need to be a little bit creative in who they sign.

"The top players, they have lists, they have categories. So most of these top players are going to be on the top lists of Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea and then where are Spurs going to go? So they can't go for the top one, because the top clubs are always going to want him."

Jonathan Woodgate has backed Kylian Mbappe to "flourish" at Real Madrid and "be even bigger than he is in Paris Saint-Germain" if he makes the move, but the regeneration of Los Blancos' midfield is of greater concern to the former defender.

Mbappe is widely expected to leave PSG for Madrid on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season.

The World Cup winner, who has 10 goals and nine assists in Ligue 1 this term, would boost Madrid in attack, but Carlo Ancelotti is not exactly short of firepower – his side's 47 goals the most in LaLiga and eighth-most in Europe's top five leagues.

And in striker Karim Benzema and winger Vinicius Junior, arguably Madrid's best two players occupy the positions Mbappe likes to operate in.

Benzema is 34 but has never been better, scoring 17 and assisting seven, with only Mohamed Salah (25) topping his 24 goal involvements in Europe's top-five leagues. The ever-improving Vinicius has 12 goals and five assists.

Asked by Stats Perform about Mbappe's potential transfer, Woodgate turned his focus instead to the middle of the pitch, where 32-year-old Toni Kroos (1,261) and 36-year-old Luka Modric (1,196) rank second and third for minutes played.

"[Mbappe] will be the biggest signing of the summer, if it goes through," said Woodgate, who played for Madrid between 2004 and 2007. "On a free transfer as well, it's incredible.

"He is a Galactico signing, one of the best players in the world, he'll flourish in Madrid, he'll be even bigger than he is in Paris Saint-Germain.

"But what concerns me in Madrid is with the likes of Modric, Kroos and Casemiro. That three in midfield are all getting to that stage where they're 35, 34 and then Casemiro. They need to start replacing them.

"Okay, they've got [Federico] Valverde, whatever, but that's the main area they need to start recruiting at.

"That three has been around for years and years and years. It's an incredible three in midfield, so it'll be interesting how they replace them three moving forward."

Tottenham have to start delivering trophies if they are to keep hold of star Harry Kane amid links with Manchester United and Manchester City, according to Jonathan Woodgate.

Kane, who has said he will assess his future after the delayed Euro 2020 tournament with England, is reportedly ready to quit Tottenham in pursuit of silverware.

The 27-year-old striker is yet to win a trophy with boyhood club Tottenham, who sacked Jose Mourinho on Monday and are set to face City in Sunday's EFL Cup final.

Former Tottenham defender Woodgate – now head coach of Championship outfit Bournemouth – was part of the Spurs team that last won silverware via the 2008 EFL Cup.

Woodgate insisted Tottenham must do more than beat City in the upcoming decider at Wembley to hold on to Kane, who has been linked with both Manchester clubs and Real Madrid.

"They have to [start winning silverware] with the stadium they have built and with the players they have got," said Woodgate.

"They have got the best striker in England in Harry Kane so they need to start winning trophies for him.

"They're a well-run football club but they need to start soon."

Kane reached 20 Premier League goals for a fifth season with the first of his brace against Everton last week, though he was forced off late in the 2-2 draw on Merseyside with an ankle injury.

The England international's two goals at Goodison Park lifted him to 164 for his career in the Premier League, good enough for seventh on the competition's all-time list. Thierry Henry (175) and Frank Lampard (177) are next in his sights, while Alan Shearer sits top on 260.

Kane sat out Spurs' 2-1 home win over Southampton on Wednesday – the first outing with temporary boss Ryan Mason in charge – and it remains unclear if he will recover in time to feature in the City showdown.

Bournemouth have confirmed Jonathan Woodgate will continue as head coach for the remainder of the season.

Woodgate was placed in temporary charge following the departure of Jason Tindall, having only joined the Championship club's staff at the start of February to replace Graeme Jones.

Since he stepped into the role, Bournemouth have won three of their five games and reached the last eight in the FA Cup for just the second time in their history.

The announcement that the former Leeds United and Real Madrid defender will remain in the post on a short-term basis comes after the Cherries were strongly linked with Thierry Henry.

"Jonathan's professionalism and leadership has impressed the board of directors since taking on the role of caretaker manager in difficult circumstances," Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake said.

"As we head into a crucial part of the season, stability and clarity is of paramount importance for everyone at the club.

"With that in mind, and having concluded an extensive search for a new manager, we believe Jonathan is the best candidate to lead the team for the final 15 games of the season."

Henry is currently in charge at Montreal Impact, though media reports suggested Bournemouth had asked the MLS franchise for permission to speak to the former France international.

However, Woodgate - previously head coach at Middlesbrough, where he was sacked after less than a year in charge – has been given the task of trying to secure a return to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Despite Saturday's 2-1 defeat away at Queens Park Rangers, sixth-placed Bournemouth still occupy the final play-off spot in the Championship table.

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