JONATHAN WOODGATE has pledged to put his faith in youth after being appointed as Middlesbrough’s new head coach.

Woodgate’s appointment on a three-year deal was confirmed this morning, with the former centre-half heading up a new-look coaching team that will also feature Robbie Keane, Leo Percovich and Danny Coyne.

The 39-year-old’s promotion to the role of head coach reflects chairman Steve Gibson’s desire to change direction after a period in which extensive expenditure has failed to produce any tangible results.

Woodgate will be charged with the task of strengthening the relationship between Boro’s first-team group and the club’s academy, and having previously worked with a number of the club’s youth teams, the Teessider is determined to give talented youngsters a chance.

“I’m looking to bring kids through the system, and that’s really important for this football club,” said Woodgate, in an interview with Middlesbrough’s official website.

“In the last few years, we’ve maybe gone away from doing that, but I know every player from the Under-12s to Under-23s to first-team level, and I know what they can do.

“I won’t be frightened to put a young player in, and the fans can start connecting with them because they have a hunger and a desire to learn and go forward.”

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While Woodgate was involved with Tony Pulis’ coaching team last season, he is determined to introduce a different brand of football to the one that was nurtured by his predecessor.

The former England international wants his side to be positive and adventurous in possession, while pressing energetically when they do not have the ball.

“We want to get fans on the edge of their seat,” said Woodgate. “We want as many fans back in the stadium as we can by playing attacking, exciting football with high pressure, pressing in different areas.

“I’m not just talking about gung-ho, I’m talking about players running the extra yard, knowing when to press, how to press.”

Woodgate’s coaches will be a key part of that process, and the new boss is delighted to have persuaded his former Tottenham team-mate, Keane, to have joined the backroom set-up.

Keane will combine his coaching duties on Teesside with his current role as number two to Mick McCarthy in the Republic of Ireland set-up.

Woodgate has also persuaded Leo Percovich to give up the assistant manager job at Brazilian side Fluminense in order to make an emotional return to the Riverside.

“I’ve brought Leo in as part of the staff and I think it’s really important that I tap into Leo. He was brilliant under Aitor (Karanka), he had his back, he was trustworthy, he has a connection with the whole of Middlesbrough and he brings a lot to the party.

“As well as Robbie Keane – I think that’s a fantastic appointment for the football club. You can look at the history, at the amount of times you’ve had a striker of his ilk in the backroom team, and it’s very rare that we’ve had it.

“The goalkeeping coach, Danny Coyne, he’ll do really well for us. I’ve spoken to him at length and all three of them know what pathway we want to take.

“We’ve got to have a philosophy at the club and I certainly believe in it. It’s what I’ve grown up believing in. I’ve had managers play the style of football that I want to play and I’ve bought into it and my coaching staff have done exactly the same.”