Former England defender Jonathan Woodgate has shelved his retirement plans to sign a new 12-month contract at Middlesbrough.
Woodgate had looked set to end his playing days but Boro boss Aitor Karanka has convinced him to extend his career after the club lost new signing Alex Baptiste to a broken leg.
Woody will be important in the changing room.
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.
I said last season and I’ll say it again, he can be very important because he is a good person and a good lad.
He was thinking about retiring 10 months ago and now he wants to help us. We are close to being a family here, and we’re pleased to say ‘welcome back Woody.’
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka says new signing Stewart Downing is "more than just a player" for the club.
Downing completed his switch back to Boro from West Ham exactly six years after leaving the Riverside Stadium in 2009. The 30-year-old has joined on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
Speaking about the move, Karanka said:
It's an amazing signing for us. He's more than just a player.
Nobody expected him to come here. But he wants to be here and is completely committed to the club and the team. He is a very good person and I'm excited to work with him.
Middlesbrough have confirmed the signing of winger Stewart Downing from West Ham for an undisclosed fee.
The 30-year-old, who came through the youth ranks at Boro, has rejoined his hometown club six years to the day after leaving for Aston Villa in 2009.
The England international, who has 35 caps for his country, has signed a four-year contract and is flying out to Spain on Friday to link up with the rest of the Boro squad in Marbella.
Downing made almost 250 appearances for Middlesbrough before joining Aston Villa for £12 million in 2009. Two years later, he moved to Liverpool for £20 million. He then signed for West Ham in 2013 for £5 million.
Middlesbrough have confirmed the club are staging a pre-season friendly match against York City.
Boro will face the Minstermen at Bootham Crescent on July 11 (12pm) in the club's first senior friendly ahead of the 2015/16 Championship season.
It's also confirmed that Middlesbrough will travel to Doncaster Rovers on Saturday July 25 (3pm).
The club is expected to confirm further pre-season games in due course. It’s anticipated that there will be a fixture at the Riverside on Saturday August 1.
Middlesbrough kick off in their crucial play off final later today. Boro must beat Norwich City, at Wembley, to gain promotion to the premier league. Manager Aitor Karanka says the team spirit has been great all season:
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka says he - and his players - are excited to play at Wembley this afternoon. Boro face Norwich City, with the winner gaining promotion to the premier league.
Middlesbrough FC manager Aitor Karanka says he and his players are handling the pressure ahead of tomorrow's big match to gain promotion to the premier league.
Speaking ahead of Monday's play-off final against Norwich City, Aitor Karanka says he's pleased the fans are enjoying themselves:
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka says beating Norwich twice during the season means nothing ahead of their play-off final at Wembley:
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka says he's looking forward to playing in front of a far bigger crowd at Wembley on Monday: