Southgate plans Wheater stay
Gareth Southgate has warned Alex McLeish off Boro defender David Wheater.
By James Dall
Last Updated: 24/05/09 12:09pm
Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has warned his Birmingham City counterpart Alex McLeish off defender David Wheater.
McLeish, who is planning for next season in the Premier League, recently admitted to his interest in Wheater during a local fans' forum.
Boro are threatened by relegation and their fate will be decided on Sunday, with reports suggesting demotion could see several key players leave in the summer.
Southgate, though, has every intention of keeping centre-back Wheater, even if the club drop to the Championship.
He said in the Sunday Mirror: "David Wheater is one that we have no intention of letting go. He is a big part of the future of this club.
"I'm sure Alex will regret how his interest has come out at a fans' forum. That doesn't help the situation, I haven't had any sort of apology on the phone.
"You tend to be a bit loose if you are talking to your fans, but that's for Alex.
"There are players I would like to keep here, whatever division we are in.
"They are the ones I'll fight to persuade that I think it's right for them to stay."