Ex Leeds star Jonathan Woodgate postpones Middlesbrough retirement for one more year

The former Leeds United graduate will fill in after new signing Alex Baptiste suffered a broken leg.

Former Leeds and Tottenham defender Jonathan Woodgate has saved the day for his hometown club Middlesbrough, postponing his retirement after teammate Alex Baptiste was ruled out for months with a serious leg break.

Woodgate knows what it's like to be on the other end of injury woes, having suffered more than his most in his career.

Despite playing professional football since 1998, the defender has only managed 30 games or more in a season five times out of seventeen seasons. 

Aitor Karanka praised the veteran defender, who took in spells at Leeds, Newcastle, Real Madrid, Tottenham and Stoke in his career, as well as two separate times with his local club Boro.

“Woody will be important in the changing room,” the Spaniard told the Boro website.

“I really appreciated his reaction after hearing of Alex Baptiste’s injury last week, and he is ready to come back.

“He knows his role will be a bit different. He wants to come here to help us get promotion."

Woodgate had served notice that he would be retiring from football after his contract at Boro expired in June, but now he is set for one final attempt to drag the club back to the Premier League.

The 35-year-old managed just 9 games last season, but will remain on the club's staff for another campaign while Baptiste recovers from what was a desperately disappointing serious injury so soon after arriving at the Riverside.

The former Bolton man was only 20 minutes into his debut in a pre-season friendly with York on Saturday when he suffered a double leg fracture after a challenge from a York trialist.

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