Southgate Toon talk played down- again
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
GARETH SOUTHGATE'S agent has once again strenuously denied that Newcastle United have contacted him about his client.
The Middlesbrough Player of the Year was linked with a move to St James' Park earlier this campaign, but his representative Steven Firth confirmed at the time there was no truth in such reports.
Reports have now claimed that the 32-year-old is furious at Boro's lack of progress this season, which has seen them fail to claim a European spot - although they could still land a Uefa Cup spot through the Fairplay League.
A player of Southgate's ability is always going to attract attention, but Firth has moved to deny claims from some newspapers that the player's 'agents had been contacted'.
"I can assure you that I have not spoken with Newcastle United," Firth explained.
"Nobody has called myself or Southgate about any transfer.
"It is a case that the clubs need to deal with it, but as I said nobody has been in contact.
"This is fiction and will be tomorrow's fish and chip paper."
Reports had been stoked by Sir Bobby Robson's comments on Friday that he would sign a player over 30.
"Would I never buy someone over 30-years-old? I would not say that at all," he said.
"The short term can be very important in football, in fact the short term can be crucial to your team.
"Look what the short term signings did for Birmingham when they brought in Dugarry, they needed short term."
However, Boro boss Steve McClaren indicated his eagerness not to sell any of his squad.
"There's no reason why any of them won't be here," said McClaren.
"I'm confident they'll be here because they can see where we are going at this club.
"They can see the progress that is being made and they can see that we have gone on from relegation trouble last season to being safe, and as high as third this season.
"At times we have looked at European places and we have never really thought about relegation. Middlesbrough have not known that for a long, long time.
"So the likes of Gareth, Ugo and George can see that, they all can."
The same reports that linked Southgate to Newcastle, also stated that they were in talks with Tottenham over full back Stephen Carr.
The Irishman is being valued at £4 million and The Magpies are being tipped to land him ahead of Spurs' North London rivals Arsenal.