No talks yet for Turnbull
Gareth Southgate insists he is not worried that Middlesbrough are yet to open contract talks with in-form goalkeeper Ross Turnbull.
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 04/11/08 5:29pm
Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate insists he is not worried that the club are yet to open contract talks with in-form goalkeeper Ross Turnbull.
Turnbull and Brad Jones, both graduates of the club's much famed youth academy, have battled it out since Mark Schwarzer left in the summer for the right to become number one.
And it is Turnbull who took advantage of an early season injury to Jones to grasp the opportunity and he has not looked back.
Turnbull has produced some wonderful performances in recent weeks, but it is also now apparent that both he and Jones are out-of-contract at the end of the season.
Despite his great form, Southgate admits that discussions are yet to begin with Turnbull - who is free to talk to rival clubs in less than two months.
Talks yet to begin
When asked if talks are progressing, Southgate stated: "No, not at the moment but, as I've said before, everyone at the start of the season was asking 'why are you going with them?' and now they are asking 'why are you not signing them to new contracts?', so you can't win.
"From Ross's point of view he's negotiating on the field and we had that with David Wheater last year.
"I want to keep them hungry. We haven't lost a player through a contract situation that we've been desperate to keep at this football club.
"When the time's right we'll sit down but I want him focused on playing and playing well and sometimes other things can be a distraction so it's picking the right time to have those discussions.
"But, without question, we want the pair of them to stay and they've both got the long-term chance of becoming the number one, but that might go on for years because they are both young enough to have that competition for places.
"I can sleep easily at night in the knowledge we've got two excellent keepers."
Southgate has been left delighted with the form of the former England Under-21 international.
"The three games he had last week were outstanding," he said.
"He's really performed incredibly well. I'm delighted for him and it gives the team confidence that you've got a goalkeeper making saves so that if you don't defend well he's there pulling off match-winning saves or point-winning saves."