HAVING worked under Neil Warnock and Sam Allardyce during his time at Middlesbrough and Sunderland, Duncan Watmore has first-hand knowledge of two of the most experienced managers in the game.

But while 72-year-old Warnock and 66-year-old Allardyce might be tarred with the brush of being ‘old-school’, the Middlesbrough forward insists it would be wrong to equate age with an unwillingness to take on new ideas.

In Allardyce, who successfully kept Sunderland in the Premier League before departing for a brief spell in charge of England, Watmore encountered a manager who was one of the first in the country to embrace developments in sports science and nutrition. And in Warnock, who will be attempting to win the ninth promotion of his career at the Riverside next season, he finds himself working under another boss who has been willing to constantly evolve over the course of the last four decades.

“I think there’s definitely similarities between the two” said Watmore. “They’re both brilliant, proven managers. They’ve had incredible careers and there are similarities in terms of the way they work, although I also think there are differences between them too.

“There’s obviously this old-school manager tag applied to both of them, but actually, they’re both very forward-thinking. They’re always open to things, and you can’t not be to be that successful.

“You have to constantly adapt, and they’re both willing to do that. They’re both very intelligent, and their game knowledge is superior to pretty much anyone you could come across thanks to their time in the game.”

The strength of Watmore’s relationship with Warnock first became evident when he agreed to continue training for nothing after the Boro boss promised him his commitment would eventually result in the offer of a deal, and the pair clearly enjoy a deep mutual trust that should benefit both parties as they look to contribute to a successful promotion push next season.

“I just really enjoy it,” said Watmore. “I enjoy the honesty from both of them. I’ve never been one for lies or hiding anything – say it how it is, that’s the best way for any relationship to move forward. On the pitch, that’s especially true – everyone knows what they need to do. I like that. I know what I need to do. I’ll do it sometimes, sometimes I might not, then I’ll know about it. That’s football."

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