It is no secret Middlesbrough striker Martin Braithwaite’s head may have been turned from interest elsewhere this summer.
The forward recently spoke out against former manager Tony Pulis, and expressed his desire to leave the club, stating “I’m not coming back to Middlesbrough” in an interview at the end of last season.
He enjoyed a successful spell out on loan at Leganes in La Liga in Spain, but now he has returned to Middlesbrough, and in an interview which appears on The Hartlepool Mail, new Head Coach Woodgate gave a glowing assessment of the striker.
“He’s been terrific for us in training, he’s been the best player in training, by a country mile,” said Woodgate after their 4-0 win over Hartlepool in pre-season.
“He’s been different class, his attitude has been fantastic, everything we’ve asked him to do he’s done professionally. He’s on the players, he raises the standard of training.
“His ability has never been in question and his attitude is not in question. With me he’s been absolutely first class.”
“I want him to stay, without a doubt I want him to stay.
“If you’ve got a top drawer Martin Braithwaite on your team, I tell you what, he’ll be some handful.”
With Boro lacking fire power last season, having scored the lowest amount of goals in the top half of the table, Braithwaite’s inclusion would only help matters and help the team to score more goals. He would be competing with Britt Assombalonga, Ashley Fletcher and Rudy Gestede for a place in the starting eleven.