WHEN Jonathan Woodgate was presented to the media for the first time as Middlesbrough’s new head coach, the club’s head of recruitment, Adrian Bevington, spoke of a “restart”. As a result, the changes that have been enacted this summer stretch much further than merely a switch of boss.

Yes, Woodgate has replaced Tony Pulis in the most obvious manifestation of the start of a new era on Teesside, but it is possible to find evidence of a new beginning in just about every aspect of the club’s business.

A new backroom staff is in place, with prominent roles for Woodgate’s long-time friend, Robbie Keane, and the popular Leo Percovich. George Friend has been appointed as Middlesbrough’s new captain, and there has been an overhaul of the squad, with familiar faces such as Aden Flint and Stewart Downing leaving.

There has been a marked switch of emphasis to youth, with Woodgate pledging to promote from within, having previously worked with most of Boro’s emerging young players during his time as a coach in the academy. There will also be a change of style this season, with the staid conservatism of the Pulis era set to be replaced by a more positive, high-tempo approach.

Woodgate wants his team to be vibrant and exciting – but with finances tight as Boro ensure they comply with the Football League’s Financial Fair Play regulations despite the lack of any more Premier League parachute payments, can he also ensure they are successful in a league as relentless and unforgiving as the Championship?

For all the talk of change, Boro’s experienced core is going to be important. Friend’s appointment as captain is an astute decision, and there will also be a need for the likes of Darren Randolph, Adam Clayton, Jonny Howson and Britt Assombalonga to assume leadership roles.

You cannot throw a team-full of youngsters into the Championship and hope they find their feet, so Boro’s older players will have to be mentors as well as influential performers on the pitch.

The increased emphasis on attack should be well received by the fans, but it remains to be seen whether it translates into more success in front of goal. There were question marks over the future of Assombalonga and Martin Braithwaite for much of last season, so while both undoubtedly boast the ability needed to flourish in the second tier, their mindset will have to be right. Ashley Fletcher has never really established himself as a Boro player – this might have to be the season when he lives up to the £6.5m price tag that accompanied him from West Ham.

It could also be a big season for Paddy McNair, who has been shuffled here, there and everywhere during his Boro career but finally looks set for a prolonged run in his preferred position of midfield, not to mention Lewis Wing and Marcus Tavernier, who broke through last season even though it was hard to escape the feeling that Pulis did not really trust them.

Who will be the next youngsters to make their mark? Dael Fry established himself as a senior presence a while ago, but it might be time for the likes of Nathan Wood, Hayden Coulson and Stephen Wearne to mount a sustained challenge for a place in the first team.

As the season begins, there are a lot of unanswered questions. As Woodgate has pointed out, that is exciting. But it also comes with a fair amount of risk attached.