Chris Wilder Interview Pre Coventry away

Q: Marcus Forss and Matty Hoppe, what do they have to do to move from being players for the future to players that can have an impact now, in the present?

They need to work hard on the training ground. They need to look at how we play. I think one is a little bit different to the other. Championship/Premier League for a couple of years but not playing many games, background and Matty is obviously a completely different one. He really needs stripping down and going gain and coaching and learning. And Forss, when there is an opportunity in training or if there is an opportunity that opens up in matches he needs to come in and take those opportunities. Nothing different to any other player in the football club or in the squad. Keep working hard, be disciplined and be better at your trade and grab opportunities when they come about.

Q: Jonny Howson received his Player of the Season award from the Supporters Club this week. You recently announced that he had a new role in helping the transition of Academy Players into the first team. How integral is that role to the club and how integral is Jonny himself to the club?

Well, he has been an important player for me personally since I have come in he has been outstanding with his performances and absolutely warranted Player of the Year last year, he was outstanding. He is a credit to his profession, a great role model, who goes about his business, 650 games, all at the highest level. If anybody wants to know what a footballer looks like just look at what Jonny Howson does, day in and day out off and on the pitch. And how he goes about his business.

So, they are gold dust, boys like that, around the place and we’ve got somebody that we are extremely grateful and appreciative of having around us. And still Jonny knowing what he is about, he still thinks he has got a couple more years left. So, he knows he somebody that we were really looking forward to working with and he has certainly not disappointed us in how he has been off and on the pitch, in performances and attitude and just a general, fabulous guy and football player.

Q: And how important is that transition between Academy and First Team Squad because the Academy has been central to Middlesbrough Football Club.

They have got to be good enough though. That is the top and bottom of it. They are looking to produce good players. And if good players come about as seen in the past, with the track record with young players, then they will be promoted and put in and of course recently the likes of Tav, Dael Fry and Josh coming into the group. It has been a fabulous pathway for young players. Everybody needs to keep working hard. It is not a given. The market is just as tough out there now with these Premier League clubs hovering about all over the place trying to nick the players, left, right and centre with financial inducements and that is not illegal towards some of these players to go and sign for the big clubs.

So we need to keep working hard, we need to keep scouting them and we need to keep working with them in the Academy. We have got good people in the Academy. We have got people that have got the club at heart and know what a Middlesbrough looks like. If we can produce them then certainly we are receptive as senior coaches and a manager we would love to have young players. But as I said at the start they have got to earn the right and be good enough in a lot of things, physically and attitude and talent and if they do then we are waiting with open arms. We have put a lot of money into that part of the football club and we are always looking for a return.

Q: Finally, how fired up are you and everyone else to win tomorrow at Coventry?

I am always fired up. To question anybody’s ambition and enthusiasm and desire at 55 and nearly 1000 games under me. I could quite easily not be in this game. I could quite easily do something else. Quite easily go off and play golf or whatever but I love the job, I love the industry, I love the profession, love working with people. I love the competitive aspect of the week. I love the competitive aspect of Saturday.. we wouldn’t be in this job. We understand the pressures of it. We embrace it, as I have said before. You know I quite easily could do something else and I suppose me wife might want me to in a few years time but I have taken this job with the fire burning as brightly as it has ever burned and that hasn’t changed and it doesn’t change because you lose a few games. And as you understand, and I am not being disrespectful here, if you understand the mindset of a professional sportsman, especially ones that have worked at the highest level, it is quite intense and possibly more so when the bullets are flying than when you are winning games because that digs a little bit deeper into you to show I think the longevity that we have had proves a point that we have won in the past and we want to win and we will win but we have to all show that tomorrow as a group and I am sure hopefully we will have a good day at the office and get ourselves back going again.