New Under-23s Lead Coach Graeme Lee says he’s delighted to have been given the responsibility for helping guide Boro’s talented youngsters in the formative years of their careers.
The ex-Hartlepool United, Sheffield Wednesday, Doncaster Rovers and Darlington defender has been a feature of our Academy set-up for several years now, and this latest role announced on Tuesday represents a step up in his own coaching career.
“I’m very proud, honoured to take the job,” he said.
“I’ve been here eight years now and done the assistant’s role for the last seven.
“It’s always been something I wanted to do, to step up, the opportunity’s come round and I’m delighted to get it.”
Lee, known affectionately as ‘Spike’ around Rockliffe, says he’ll add his own flavour to what he has learned from his predecessors.
“I’ve had a great relationship with the three Lead Coaches I was lucky enough to work with, Jamie Clapham, Paul Jenkins and Paul Stephenson.
“Hopefully I can take the experiences from those three and move forward.
“And of course you have to look back and put your own experiences into the way you want to manage and the way you want to coach.”
Lee says he’s excited to be working with new head coach Jonathan Woodgate, who has illustrated a clear remit to offer pathways to our Academy products.
“I’ve always enjoyed the responsibility of trying to lead,” Lee said.
"You've got to understand the mentality of the players, they've climbed the mountain and are so close to the summit. I’m trying to set an example, hopefully guide and develop them so they can take that next step to first team level.
“It’s not just the talent, it’s the determination and dedication, to get them ready for the new gaffer to say ‘yeah, I want to have a look at them’.
"Coming into this job and seeing what the gaffer is saying, the young players must be looking at that and thinking 'wow'.
"This is a better chance than any other year at the club to get that opportunity - Jonathan Woodgate knows the young players and what they are capable of.
"It's down to them to try and stake a claim for a place in the squad."
Watch the full interview with Graeme Lee in the video player above.