The players reported back to Rockliffe Park on Monday morning, in small groups initially in line with the EFL’s return to training protocols. 

“It’s just nice to be back,” Howson said.

“For the first few days it’s a case of making sure everyone’s alright, and the fitness tests we do are fairly tough. 

“We were in at different times on the first day, split up, so it’ll be good when the whole group is together. 

“OK we had a shorter break than usual, but even still, I think the majority of the lads will have been waiting for this.

“From a personal point of view, we had the break for the lockdown and came back to finish the end of the season. Physically I felt alright come the end, normally you are ready for a break but I have been wanting to get going again.

“The manager was here a little bit towards the back end, but it’s a new season now - there will be changes, things will happen and everyone will be eager to take their chance to impress.”

Given the departure of some of Boro’s older faces at the back end of the last campaign, Howson’s position as a senior figure in the dressing room is all the more prevalent. 

“It’s been mentioned two or three times by my mates back home, being the oldest outfield player by two or three years now,” Howson said.

“It just seems to have flown by from being a young player looking up to the older lads.

“I’m sure there will be people to come in as well but the way I look at it, my role hasn’t changed.

“I’m not the loudest, I’m not one for ranting and raving just because I’m the oldest player.

“I try to lead by example, do things right day in day out, and if lads follow suit the more the merrier. Hopefully it does rub off on people.”

Watch the full interview with Jonny Howson in the video player above.