Southgate backing Wheater
Gareth Southgate expects David Wheater to press ahead and make further strides next season.
Last Updated: 19/06/08 9:50am
Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate expects defensive starlet David Wheater to press ahead and make further strides next season.
The 21-year-old enjoyed a sensational campaign last year, his first full season in the Boro first team.
He became a regular under Southgate and then capped it off by being called into the full England squad by Fabio Capello.
"It's a challenge for him - I don't think it's anything he should fear," said Southgate.
"He has seen what the league is about, he has proved he can play at this level.
"The thing about becoming a top player is producing it season in, season out.
"Getting a place in the team is one thing - and it is incredibly hard. But it is even harder keeping it, so that's the challenge for him.
"I am pleased in a selfish sense from Middlesbrough's point of view that he didn't get that England cap at the end of the season because he has still got something to strive for and so much ahead of him if he continues in the way he did last season."
Mido weight loss
Meanwhile, the club have appointed a new head of their physical development department in the shape of former Celtic player Frank Nuttall.
And one of Nuttall's first jobs has been to help with the pre-season build-up for Mido - who claims to have shed almost two stone.
"I wake up every day at 6am and train with Nick at 9am," he said.
"I have lost 10 kilos and I want to lose four more this month. I apologise to the fans for last season and I am working very hard for the new season.
"I have lost a lot of weight and I have never reached this level since I was at Roma.
"I expect that Middlesbrough can finish in the top 10 of the Premier League next season. I promise the fans a good season from me and from the team."