LIKE anything in life, reaching a milestone or a remarkable achievement invokes a bit of reflection time on how you got to where you are now.

That’s been the case with Middlesbrough captain Jonny Howson who is now 200 up in appearances for the club after playing in Tuesday night’s defeat to Preston North End.

The 33-year-old has been an ever present in the side since signing for the club back in the summer of 2017 from Norwich City. He is currently the club’s longest serving player and has the responsibility of wearing the captain's armband.

The midfielder appreciates he is entering the twilight years of his career and may well have one eye on what happens next after the professional game.

But ticking off 200 appearances on Teesside and many more for Norwich City and Leeds United over the course of his career has allowed him to reflect on how far he has come. That includes an appreciation of the contributions made by people closest to him

Speaking to the Northern Echo, Howson said: “I have these different discussions with my dad. Throughout my career, I’ve looked at football like life in general. When you get older, you appreciate more things.

“It’s a bit like when you are a kid and your parents take you all over the place, you don’t really appreciate it too much or realise when you are younger. Get a bit older and you realise how much they done for you.

“That’s no different to now. You get a bit older and realise what you are actually doing or achieving.

“How many people set out to become a professional footballer, how many are still doing it now? Let’s be honest we’re doing it, make the most of it because it’s a wonderful thing, it’s a wonderful achievement and we are very fortunate that we get to do this day in, day out.

The Northern Echo:

“Yeah, it might not always go for us and we’ll strive to improve but you also come a long way as well so it’s a little bit of both. You don’t settle but you do appreciate it and also you’ve got to keep driving on to keep doing it because there’s probably someone waiting to take your spot if not.

“I knew it (200 appearances) was coming up. I remember when Stewy (Downing) was here, he played a lot games, not just obviously for Middlesbrough, but just in his career in general and it’s something I’ve looked into and something that I’m very proud of as well.”

Howson has just over six months left on his current deal at the club. He signed his extension a year and two days ago but it remains to be seen whether further negotiations will pan out.

He’s started both of Chris Wilder’s first games in charge of the club and has been an ever present throughout the season, featuring in every league game.

There are some players that might just settle for being the senior statesmen of a squad and their role behind the scenes might go on to outweigh their contribution on the pitch.

Howson has no intention of that happening as he aims to carry on playing for as long as his body will allow him to.

“It’s a good achievement but I’ll never settle on that. I’ll always want to progress and want it more” he added.

“In regards to playing, I think it’s just, I used to say this a lot when I played quite a few different positions. The bottom line, I just want to be playing on a Saturday or a Tuesday or whenever it is.

“If I wasn’t getting a game or whatever it may be, I’d drop down because I go back to the fact that I want to play games and play football.

The Northern Echo:

“Sometimes that can sound a bit corny but that is the case. Let’s be honest, we mentioned age and getting older. Some day this will end and you won’t be able to play so you’ve got to make the most of it. So it probably comes from that and trying to do the right things. Looking after myself day in, day out to give me the best opportunity to keep myself fit and put me in the best shape to play as long as possible as well.

“You never know what’s around the corner but as I say, I’d like to think I do the right things to give me the best possible opportunity to be able to do that.”