GARRY Monk says he decided to join Middlesbrough as the challenge 'ticked all boxes" for him. 

Monk, formerly at Leeds, was announced as manager at the end of last week and this morning met the press.

Loading article content

He said the determination of chairman Steve Gibson was a major factor in him accepting the post.

“Everyone in football knows, when you speak to him you can see the passion he has. That determination really struck me," said Monk. 

"I’m a determined person myself and once I spoke to him it was very clear this was going to be the right club."

Addressing how he came to leave Leeds, whom he took to the brink of the play- offs, he said: “It's important to make clear that it was two separate situations. There was the situation at Leeds where I was expecting to go forward in that process, but we couldn’t quite find that.

"Then I became a manager out of a job. I’m ambitious and I want to find the right challenge, and all of those tick boxes, Middlesbrough had it. Speaking to Steve (Gibson) and the club, all the tick boxes I wanted were there.

“(I) don’t want to get into details out of respect to Leeds. Having gone there and worked with Massimo (Cellino), when Andrea (Radrizzani) came in it was a new ownership and a new structure.

"I sat down and discussed with Leeds what that new structure would be, and to be honest it wasn’t right for me. There were things that didn’t suit me, so I made that decision. So the next process was to find the right challenge and tick the boxes I needed.

"Everything in terms of the challenge I wanted was clear with Middlesbrough."

Monk was asked about the players at the club and what might be the outcome of talks with much-wanted defender Ben Gibson.

“I’m still in the process of going through the whole squad and assessing going foeward," he said. "Ben is one of a number of players here who is integral to the club and getting back to the Premier League and all of that will be discussed. 

"It’s about looking at who is here, assessing who is here, and maybe trying to add to the squad too. All of that will be discussed."

He said an immediate return to the top flight was his plan.

“Of course going straight back up is the ambition," he said. "There’s no getting away from that and that’s the challenge you want.

"I’ve signed three years, but I want to make it back at the first attempt. But you know how hard it is in this league – it's very hard for the teams that come down to go straight back up.

"That just shows how competitive and tough this league is."

Chief executive Neil Bausor sat alongside Monk at the press conference and was asked about the future of former caretaker boss Steve Agnew.

“We will work with Garry over the next few days to try to piece together the support staff," he said.

"We hold Steve (Agnew) in the utmost respect because of what he has done for us, and we will speak to Steve in the next few days in terms of what his future is."

Monk was asked about his feelings on coming into a club like Middlesbrough.

“I’ve worked with pressure since I started becoming a manager. That’s how I work best. In football, everything is a high pressure situation," he said. 

"There’s pressure to win games at any club. The ambition is to come back hard after what has been a disappointing season for the club.

"It’s my job to give confidence to the club and players and come out firing in what is a very competitive league."

Asked about players he might want to bring in, he said: “Like at any club in any summer, there will be things in terms of adding to what is already here.

"It's up to me and the club to sit down in the next couple of weeks to have the discussions about what we want to do.

"I’m really excited to be working with the players that are here, they have a lot of talent.

"Look at before last season, they’ve had a good progression as a club. That shows it is a club that works in the right way."

Boro were criticised under former boss Aitor Karanka for their unadventurous playing style.

Monk was quizzed on his approach.

“It's very hard to describe (style). We need to get the squad to the point where we’re happy with the squad and everything we need is there.

"There are certain principles I like to follow. People like to talk about philosophies but I leave that to everyone else.

"I’m sure the key is to get the players to engage. That won’t be a problem.

“There are many things to check off in this job. It’s to enjoy it and understand what is ahead of me. Have good conversations with everyone at the club. You need a clarity about what you want to do. Right now, it’s just about being excited, which I am."

Monk added: "Part of the appeal was to have a talented squad and a good squad. 

"Of course, it needs helping in certain areas, but that’s the same with every club in every given summer.

"The ambition is to get back at the first time of asking. That’s the challenge you should want and the challenge I need.

"I felt they were already quite far down the line with organisation and knowing what they wanted to do.

“It’s the same for any club. We’d love to have a fantastic pre-season and win the first ten games we play, but it doesn’t always work like that.

"We want to go into this season determined. We have a good group as it is and whatever help we can give them, we will do.

“There’s a lot of things in place that are really good at this club, and will help everything tie in together.

"I started last year at Leeds from scratch though and that doesn’t faze me. This club has a lot of  good strong foundations.

"It’s had a difficult season so there are certain things you have to rebuild, but there are thngs in place here to do well and move forward.

"With hard work and determination we will give ourselves a good chance."

Monk admitted the Championship was a tough league and he was not taking anything for granted.

“You have to judge it on what happened last season – it was one of the most competitive Championship seasons in years.

"We finished oin 75 points with leeds, and the fact it was 80 points plus just to finish in the play-offs shows just how competitive that league was.

"It’s going to be difficult, but you just have to trust yourself and work as hard as you can."

Monk said he intended to be 'clever' when it came to bringing players in.

“The finance is all part of it. Like any club, there will be budgets and things to be done," he said. 

"The club is in a very healthy position, but they’re also in a position where they’re celever.

"I’ll only do things to help the group that is here. It’s not about spending money, I’ve always tried to be clever with recruitment and only try to get players who can help the players that are already here.

"I’m excited to get started straight away.

“I’ve shown in my time in management that I’ve used a lot of young players and given them opportunities. I’ve shown I have a track record of that, but at the end of the day it’s about them showing they deserve that chance.

"We’ll have a good close look at the younger players at the club and there will always be a pathway with me here."

Asked about the success of the England U20 team at the World Cup over the weekend, where two Middlesbrough players were part of the squad, Monk said: “It was a fantastic achievement. I watched that tournament all the way through, and it’s something the club should be proud of. 

"For this club to have that coming through, and other like-minded youngsters at the club, just shows what can be achieved.

"That will be there if they’re good enough and ready."

Monk said he had happy memories of his time at Leeds.

“I loved it. I went into Leeds, it’s a fantastic club, we all know that. My only thought last season was to be at Leeds and continue being at Leeds," he said. 

"But once you go through that process of new ownership and have discussions, it didn’t align with what I needed to work at my best and take that club forward.

"The fans were fantastic, and there are a lot of great people at that club. I wish them well. I hope they can get back to the PL."