ROBBIE KEANE’S international commitments have given Jonathan Woodgate the opportunity to promote from within, highlighting that it is not just young players at Middlesbrough being given a chance.

Keane’s dual roles as number two to both Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy and Woodgate at the Riverside Stadium has seen him head away with his country over the last fortnight.

The situation has helped convince the Middlesbrough head coach to use promising coaches at academy level to take part in sessions because he is keen to see what others can offer.

It is a similar approach being used to his squad selection, having asked numerous Under-23s and Under-18s players to take part in first team training in the hope of giving them a chance in cup football or in the Championship.

Over the last two weeks coach Paul Crager has had his opportunity and there will be more, while former Boro defender Tony McMahon has been invited in to experience the coaching side of the game.

Woodgate said: “It’s what I want to see. He is the same age as me, or a couple of years younger. It’s brilliant for Paul to see he can come in and do it. It’s fantastic. There will be other coaches coming to do it.

“The experience to see how we work every day, to see what the players do every day, for them to get an insight into what the main team does. Can they do it? Can they come in and cope, do they got overawed? No. Do they put good sessions on which are relevant to what we want? Yes.

“Did they enjoy it? Yes. Will it give them confidence? Yes. Will it give them a boost? That's exactly what it does. And I'll do that for the other international breaks, I'll bring one of the youth coaches in."

Woodgate, born and bred on Teesside, might only be months into his first managerial post and a three-year contract, but he already thinks it is vital not to be too much of a control freak when it comes to getting his message across.

He said: “My voice is a Boro voice, so every single day ‘rar, rar, rar’, I think let someone else come in and change the noise. When you speak to them it’s a bit routine, so it is nice to have different voices.

“You have coaches speaking and then I will come in too. It’s not always the same voice constantly that way and that was good for me on the training pitch. This gives you a bit of time.  “Paul Crager was good. He is the assistant manager at Thornaby, he has been here with the Under-12s. We have had Tony McMahon with us too.  “I text Macca to say come in and see what you think, stay with us for the nine days up to Reading game. He is at the stage where he doesn’t know what to do. It’s nice for him to see what we do on a daily basis, as a player you finish at 930 and finish at 2pm or whatever. This takes over you. He has helped Leo Percovich, seen what the plans are, the recruitment side. He has been really good.”  But Woodgate is still delighted to have Keane back in tow to boost the preparations for Reading’s visit to the Riverside on Saturday. The Irishman headed back to the North-East after scoring in Vincent Kompany’s testimonial at the Etihad on Wednesday night.

Woodgate said “His enthusiasm on the training pitch, he knows exactly what he wants. It’s all organised meticulously. The advice he offers, anything that you forget he is there to remind you. It’s what you need off an assistant coach.”

Woodgate heads into the visit of the Royals without George Friend and Jonny Howson after surgery. Daniel Ayala is available again and the Middlesbrough boss believes the international break came at a good time to refresh and work on more things.

He said: "It was really good. We worked hard with the players, they've enjoyed it and we're looking forward to Reading.

"It's been good. If my players get back safe from international duty that's the most important thing.

Phil Hudson (analyst) will look at the opposition players to see if any of those have picked up injuries."