Southgate hails keepers
Gareth Southgate says Paul Robinson or Scott Carson are not better than Ross Turnbull and Brad Jones.
Last Updated: 31/07/08 12:40pm
Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has underlined his faith in Ross Turnbull and Brad Jones by insisting neither Paul Robinson nor Scott Carson are better than either of them.
The Boro chief was strongly linked with both goalkeepers over the summer, who have since joined new clubs in Blackburn and West Brom respectively.
However, following the departure of Mark Schwarzer, Southgate insisted he was happy with his current goalkeeping options and he has now stated neither England international appealed to him.
"I have to say I wouldn't have taken the two goalkeepers you mention," Southgate told a BBC Tees forum, when asked about Carson and Robinson.
"Goalkeepers like Carson and Robinson only made their reputations by being given an opportunity.
"I'm well aware the goalkeeping situation is unquestionably the biggest talking point whenever I meet Boro supporters at the moment.
"I haven't seen a goalkeeper available who is better than the two we have.
"That's not just my view, that's the view of all the staff. I've talked at length with Stephen Pears about it. I don't make decisions like this on my own, we have a scouting department and we also have goalkeeping coaches.
"Ross had 30 games at Crewe and the same at Barnsley, Brad is an Australian international. They're not kids any more. Brad is 26 and Ross is 23.
"Had we brought another number one in we would have lost both those young goalkeepers.
"We're in the advantageous position where we see these goalkeepers day in, day out and know what they're capable of."
Meanwhile, Southgate has rubbished reports suggesting Sunderland had shown an interest in Stewart Downing.
"Stewart Downing won't be going to Sunderland, let's leave it at that," Southgate asserted.
"We haven't had any telephone calls about Stewart and nor would we welcome any. He loves playing for the club, he's very settled but he's very ambitious and we have to persuade him that he can fulfil his ambitions with us.
"At this time of the year there's huge speculation about players. We realise we're fortunate to have a player of Stewart's quality playing for us.
"For me, the most important signings we made last season was persuading Stewart and David Wheater to sign new contracts.
"You can never say things definitely happen, anything can happen in football, but we're determined to hang on to Stewart, he's a massive part of our future."
Southgate added that he was still looking at a midfield player, although reports suggest he is unwilling to match Reading's valuation of James Harper.
"I'm always loath to talk about players at other clubs," he said.
"We've moved several midfield players on. We have got Gary O'Neil who can play inside as he did at Portsmouth, but we're continually trying to improve the squad.
"We're probably a couple of senior players light. That might mean more young players getting a chance, or it might mean we're able to deal with that situation in the next couple of weeks.
"I'm always looking to improve what I've got. The midfield is an area we'd like perhaps one more person in."