GEORGE FRIEND has been told he will be Jonathan Woodgate’s captain for the new season as Middlesbrough plot a way to attack the Championship under the new boss.

Friend was missing at Hartlepool on Sunday when Boro won comfortably and Adam Clayton was the skipper.

But in an interview with BBC Tees there was no doubt in Woodgate’s mind as to who was going to be wearing the captain’s armband come August.

“George will be the captain this season,” said the Middlesbrough head coach. “George is a fantastic leader, he does everything right, and sets a fine example to the young kids.

“It’s not just the likes of George and Clayton you look to in those situations, you can also look at the likes of Aden Flint, Darren Randolph, they have all looked at the young kids and tried to help.

“When I was at Leeds at we had Nigel Martyn, Gary Kelly, David Wetherall … loads to look up to and it’s about the older guys putting the arms around the young lads to help them, advise them.”

Middlesbrough have only signed Tomas Mejias since Woodgate took over from Tony Pulis and there is a drive to bring fresh faces in before the Championship opener with Luton on August 2.

It has been suggested that Woodgate is looking to move players on such as Martin Braithwaite because he is a high earner, which would facilitate more new arrivals. It has also been reported that Braithwaite, a Denmark international, wants to leave.

Woodgate said: “He hasn’t said to me he wants to go. I will take it at face value, until he tells me that’s how and when I will deal with it. Martin has been different class since I took over, he has been terrific for us. Until he tells me he wants to leave then for now he is a Middlesbrough player.”