Middlesbrough travelled to Germany this week for their third game of pre-season, as they triumphed over SV Sandhausen 1-0. However, one name took the headlines, and it wasn’t the goal-scorer Patrick Bamford.
Middlesbrough’s victory of SV Sandhausen saw teenager Nathan Wood make the bench. The 16-year old has deputised on the injury to usual centre-half Daniel Ayala, who missed the game through a calf injury.
To be brought into the pre-season squad is certainly an achievement in itself, but Wood also made his debut against the German side. He played 30 minutes, slotting in at right-back, and playing with a maturity far beyond his years.
Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis praised the 16-year old, and outlined the young defenders huge potential. In his post-match interview, Pulis said:
“For Nathan to be around the first team players and first team squad will be very good for his development. It’s a different environment to the Academy in lots and lots of ways and let’s hope he grows.
“With that potential he’s got a great chance” he said.
Wood will take confidence from seeing defender Dael Fry graduate from Middlesbrough’s academy and featuring in the first team after impressing in pre-season a few seasons ago. He too deputised on an injury in defence, and took this chance into the first team in the regular season soon after.
Wood is an England youth international, having featured for the national team at under-15s and under-16s level. He joined Middlesbrough’s academy three years ago as a 13-year old from local side Stockton Town, and has been a stalwart in Middlesbrough’s youth sides ever since, most notably Boro’s under-18s team.
The defender is also the son of former-Middlesbrough left-back Dean Gordon, who also played for Crystal Palace and Coventry City between 1991 and 2004.