Boro squad backs Wheater - Bates

21 December 2010 05:43
Middlesbrough captain Matthew Bates believes the squad would not begrudge defender David Wheater a move to a Premier League club in January.Wheater, 23, is out of contract in the summer and has already been the subject of reported interest from top-flight clubs this season. [LNB]"There's nobody in the club who doesn't want him to stay," Bates told BBC Tees. [LNB]"But everyone wants to see everyone do well and, like the manager says, his ability is at Premier League level." [LNB]Redcar-born Wheater has been a regular fixture in the Middlesbrough first-team, missing just two Championship matches under Gordon Strachan and Tony Mowbray's management.[LNB] [LNB][LNB] "It's the situation he finds himself in. Does he stay here and gamble to get us out of the division, or leave here and go to the Premier League?" Bates continued. [LNB]"It would be a difficult decision for him and his family, so fingers crossed he stays." [LNB]Meanwhile another player linked with a move away from the Riverside is former captain Gary O'Neil, who joined Middlesbrough from Portsmouth for £5m in August 2007. [LNB]The 27-year-old has made more than 100 league appearances for the Teessiders, despite suffering a string of troublesome knee and groin injuries, and has recently been the focus of media speculation regarding his future. [LNB]"There has been a lot of speculation, and people wondering about their futures," said Bates. [LNB]"Gary runs more than anyone in the game, and he's been one of our best players. It's a credit to his attitude. [LNB]"He's been at this club a long time now and I think it's in his heart. It hurts him to see where we are in the table. [LNB]"It's great to see him giving 100% still and it's a credit to his professionalism."

Source: BBC_Sport

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