Poga earns 'Mad Dog' label
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Emanuel Pogatetz has earned a new nickname from his Middlesbrough team-mates.Middlesbrough defender Emanuel Pogatetz has earned himself a new nickname from his team-mates.
The Austrian has been affectionately dubbed 'Mad Dog' - a reflection on his tough tackling attitude on the pitch.
Pogatetz came to Teesside with a reputation of being a fiery figure - given that he arrived with a six-month worldwide ban for a tackle during his time on loan at Spartak Moscow which broke an opponent's leg in two places.
He appealed against that decision and the ban was overturned which allowed him to start his Boro career immediately - but already he is becoming something of a cult figure with supporters and team-mates alike.
"Being physical is my style," he said.
"They have a very funny name for me. They call me Mad Dog and they all laugh at me.
"I think it's because I like to get stuck in. I don't mind.
"I am a strong tackler and that could have something to do with it, but we have this thing called ProZone and against Manchester United I made 100 percent of my passes to my team-mates.
"I would like to think passing is a strong part of my game. If you cannot play football you can't play for a club like this."
Pogatetz has already seen red during his Boro career, but it was while on international duty with Austria last month - after he clashed with Northern Ireland's Damien Johnson.
The 22-year-old has been banned for two matches following the Johnson incident, which has annoyed him.
"I heard on Wednesday that I have got a two-game ban. I'm very disappointed," he said, with Austria's next competitive games coming when they co-host the 2008 European Championship.
"I'm not sure that I will be in the squad because there are only three games in the group.
"I want to get it out of my head. The national coach has to look for another player in my position. I will try to appeal now.
"Two games is not a fair decision. It means such a lot to play in the championship at home, but now I'm suspended for a small thing."
Manager Steve McClaren is a fan of Pogatetz's approach.
"He's a character. He wants to learn and has so much to learn but I've never known a more willing pupil," said McClaren.
"He's very intense. Against Charlton earlier in the season he went up to winger Dennis Rommedahl and said 'You have me to deal with this half. You won't get a kick'. And he shows that every day in training - he kills half our team."
Meanwhile, Boro have confirmed that exciting young defender Seb Hines has damaged knee ligaments and will be out of the game for six to nine months.