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Southgate bleeds for the cause; FOOTBALL.

A BLOODIED Gareth Southgate ignored a gaping wound in his forehead to help Middlesbrough cling on to another precious point for their UEFA Cup qualification fund.

The 34-year-old needed 10 stitches in a gash left by his 80th-minute clash of heads with Newcastle captain Alan Shearer.

But after being patched up on the pitch, he played on to help the Teessiders see out a goalless draw which teenager Charles N'Zogbia should have snatched from their grasp at the death.

Southgate will be a major doubt for Saturday's trip to Liverpool as Boro attempt to hold on to seventh place in the Barclays Premiership, but manager Steve McClaren was full of praise for his skipper's courage.

"He has had about 10 stitches - it is a hell of a gash," he said.

"But Gareth epitomised our performance. In all probability, he should have come off, but he wanted to stay on and see out the last 10 minutes because if he had gone for stitches, it would have taken them half an hour to stitch it, as it has done after the game.

"In away games, coming here, you need to sweat blood, and he certainly did that.

"We will have to wait and see for the weekend, but knowing Gareth he will want to play because we are so close to that prize that we want.

"He will not want to miss out as he did not in the last 10 minutes here when he very easily could have come off and had the stitches then."

SHEFFIELD United have dismissed all notion of Phil Jagielka joining Aston Villa in the summer.

The versatile 22-year-old, who has excelled in both midfield and defence again this season, is reportedly wanted by David O'Leary as a replacement for Germany-bound Thomas Hitzlsperger.

But Blades vice-chairman Terry Robinson said: "The position is quite clear - we are aiming to get promotion to the Premier League and you don't do that by getting rid of your best players. There is nothing in it and the board is resolute. We will be maintaining all our existing players."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Apr 28, 2005
Words:348
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