Woodgate unaware of plans over Boro future

February 8, 2007

England defender Jonathan Woodgate has insisted he remains a Real Madrid player despite the club's claims that they had sold him to Middlesbrough.

The 27-year-old returned to action for his country for the first time in almost three years in last night's 1-0 defeat by Spain at Old Trafford.

Woodgate's re-emergence on the international stage came a matter of days after Real announced they had agreed a deal with his home-town club Boro, where he is spending the current season on loan, for a permanent transfer and wished him the best for his future.

However, that came as news to both the Teessiders, who negotiated a first option on the player when they signed him on a temporary basis last summer, and Woodgate.

After playing 65 minutes for his country last night, the defender admitted he did not know what was going on, but was adamant no decision has yet been taken.

He said: 'I have not got a clue. I have got a contract with Madrid and all this stuff comes out and I have not got a clue what is happening.

'I have got a contract at Madrid and I will see what happens at he end of the season and see where I go in the summer.

'They agreed a fee with Middlesbrough at the start of the season, but then it all came out saying I was going.

'I have not been transferred. I am a Real Madrid player and I am on loan at Middlesbrough.

'We will see what happens at the end of the year and I will take a decision then.'

Woodgate revealed when he joined Boro that two of his aims were to persuade new Real boss Fabio Capello he had a future at the Bernabeu Stadium, and to win back his England place.

Last week's announcement suggests that, despite his excellent form at the Riverside Stadium, he has failed to achieve the first of those objectives.

However, his presence at the heart of Steve McClaren's defence alongside Rio Ferdinand last night as he collected just his sixth senior cap was reward for the hard work which has brought an end to his injury misery and reminded the nation of his quality.

Woodgate will hope he does not have to wait as long for his seventh cap as he did for the one he collected last night, although he knows he faces stiff competition with vital Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Andorra coming up next month.

Skipper John Terry was an unused substitute, as was Tottenham's Michael Dawson, and he is well aware of the men he will have to displace to claim a regular place in the starting line-up.

He said: 'I have to play as many games as I can for Middlesbrough and hopefully I will be selected for England again.

'But there are a lot of good centre-halves in England, so everyone will be battling for positions.

'You feel on your day, you can be a match for anyone and hopefully I am. But John, Rio (Ferdinand), Jamie Carragher and Michael Dawson are the same.

'We are all looking for that spot, and it is good for the manager to have competition for places.'