FOR most of the morning and afternoon, June 14 was a normal day in the life of Jonathan Woodgate. At 9am, he went to Chaps Barbers, in Linthorpe Village, to get his hair cut. By the early evening, he was at the Herlingshaw Centre, watching his son, Carter, round off his seventh birthday by playing in a five-a-side tournament.

So far, so unremarkable. It was just the bit in between that was somewhat out of the norm. At 12.30pm, Woodgate was formally unveiled as Middlesbrough’s new head coach. A boyhood Boro fan, taking charge of his hometown team. Even for someone who has played for his country and represented some of the world’s biggest clubs, that is a thrill you do not experience every day.

“It’s a huge, huge honour,” said Woodgate, who will take charge of his first competitive fixture in management when Middlesbrough travel to Luton Town tonight. “I’ve been a Middlesbrough fan since I was six years old and my father used to take me to Ayresome Park.

“I’ve been through all the games from Ayresome Park to the Riverside - Cup finals, the lot, I’ve been everywhere. I’m just honoured to be the head coach.”

Having replaced Tony Pulis, who spent last season indoctrinating his players with a conservative, safety-first approach, Woodgate has spent the last month trying to introduce a radically-changed mindset.

He wants his players to be bold and adventurous on the ball, and will demand a high-pressing approach when they are not in possession. He has pledged to promote youth, and has spent the pre-season period assessing some of the youngsters he previously led in the Under-23s. Not only is it a new regime, it is also a new start.

“First and foremost, I want to pass the ball,” said Woodgate, who has assembled a coaching team that boasts prominent roles for Robbie Keane, Leo Percovich and Danny Coyne. “Pass the ball, keep the ball, I want players to run with the ball. It’s important that when you lose the ball, you win it back as quickly as possible.

“Obviously, don’t go gung-ho, there are times to press and to know when to press, but that’s my philosophy, that’s what I want to do. I want to win games scoring goals.

“I know the club inside out, from Under-12s to the Under-23s to the first team, and it’s important we play that style all the way through the club.”

Woodgate’s lack of experience was raised as a concern when he was first appointed, but he joins the likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard in a crop of young bosses who are rapidly making a name for themselves in management.

He also follows the likes of Bryan Robson, Steve McClaren, Gareth Southgate and Aitor Karanka, who all used a first managerial posting at the Riverside as a launching pad for successful managerial careers.

“The chairman has a track record of giving managers their first job here,” said Woodgate. “Those managers have gone on to have great success and be incredible managers, especially Gareth, who has gone on to be England manager and has done an unbelievable job. This is just the start of my pathway, but hopefully it builds up like that.”