Pressure all on Norwich City, says Boro’s Jonathan Woodgate

Middlesbrough's Jonathan Woodgate aims to plot a Premier League return at Norwich's expense. Photo:

Middlesbrough's Jonathan Woodgate aims to plot a Premier League return at Norwich's expense. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Former Real Madrid and England international defender Jonathan Woodgate is desperate for a winning swansong, by helping Middlesbrough beat Norwich in Monday's Championship play-off final.

Woodgate's current deal at the Riverside runs out after next week's Wembley game against the Canaries and the centre back is only focused on his short-term future with contract talks on hold until the end of this season.

The vetern is no stranger to big games, having played in a Champions League semi-final tie for Madrid, as well as scoring the winner at Wembley as Tottenham lifted the League Cup in 2008.

'I'll only be thinking about what I'm going to do when I'm lying on a sun-lounger in the sun,' said the Boro captain. 'I'm going to talk to the manager and my family, but I've made no decisions yet on what I will do. If we get in the Premier League, it's a huge achievement. You'd die to it, it's a massive game. It's not a normal match, it's a final.

'The Championship play-off is the biggest thing outside winning a competition, if we can do it, it will be incredible for the club and the town. It's going to be a special atmosphere, a full stadium, half of it red and the other half yellow, I just hope at the end it's the reds celebrating.'

Woodgate is the latest opponent to insist Norwich must handle the pressure, despite the Teessiders' completing a league double at Carrow Road last month and cruising into the play-off final with a 5-1 aggregate win over Brentford.

'This is a one-off game, it's going to be tense, both teams are going to be nervous,' he said. 'You look at Norwich and they are going to be the favourites.

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'We have beaten them twice but pretty much every single one of their players is a Premier League player.

'Apart from one, I think all their team played in the Premier last year. The onus is on them, the pressure is on them because their players are bigger than ours.'