Southgate - Boateng staying put
Gareth Southgate insists skipper George Boateng is staying put despite rumours linking him with a move away from the Riverside.
By Carla Hilton
Last Updated: 04/01/08 4:49pm
Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate insists skipper George Boateng is staying put despite rumours linking him with a move away from the Riverside.
Boateng's agent admits there have been enquiries as to his client's availability, and rumours of a possible exit have been fuelled by the absence of the Dutchman in the defeat to Everton on New Year's Day despite being available for selection.
The 32-year-old has also been left out of Saturday's FA Cup tie away at Bristol City but Southgate insists he is still part of his plans.
"He is our player and we have got a small squad. We are not in a rush to lose any of our players," said Southgate.
"It's a bit of a strange one at the moment, but we have just got to deal with it."
Southgate blames the rumours on the January transfer window and says it is a testing time for all clubs because the window sparks so much speculation.
"It is that time of year when players will be linked with us and players will be linked with going away from us," added Southgate.
"It's an unsettling period at any club - I am sure other clubs are the same.
"I am sure all managers are delighted when January is finished because you end up feeling you need to explain things that are in newspapers to lads when there is no truth sometimes, there is an element of truth sometimes and sometimes it is fact.
"It is very difficult for everybody at this time of year and this is one of those stories."
Southgate admits the stories appear to have unsettled Boateng, saying: "Temporarily it has.
"But we don't want players to leave the club, especially experienced players, and I have made that clear to George."