By support

5th Nov, 2016 | 11:12am

Michael Bridges hails unreal Leeds defender, identifies five qualities

By Will Butcher

Michael Bridges has described former Leeds star Jonathan Woodgate as the best defender he played with during his injury-ridden career.

Woodgate, 36, played for the Yorkshire giants for five years between 1998 and 2003 before moving onto the likes of Newcastle, Real Madrid and Tottenham.

However, the centre-back endured a difficult career that was rife with injury much like his former Leeds teammate Bridges, who is now a football pundit in Australia.

Replying to a tweet on his personal Twitter account, Bridges believes that Woodgate was the complete defender as he possessed qualities such as “pace”, “positioning” and “passing”.

Woodgate was one of the mainstays of David O’Leary’s young side that surpassed expectations to reach the semi finals of the Champions League in 2001.

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Alongside Rio Ferdinand, Woodgate was part of one of the best defences in Leeds’ history, before the financial collapse in 2003 that saw Woodgate jump ship along with stars such as Alan Smith, Mark Viduka and Paul Robinson.

The eight-time England international suffered from multiple injuries, with problems in his knees and groin being the main culprits that saw Woodgate make just 12 appearances during his time with La Liga giants Real Madrid.

After finishing his career with spells at Stoke and Middlesbrough, Woodgate has taken up the role of working as a scout at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp.

Woodgate’s teammate Bridges is now a sports pundit for Australia’s Premier League channel Optus Sport, after finishing his career down under.

The former striker endured a career riddled by injury at Elland Road, making just 75 appearances and scoring 21 goals in his five-year spell in Yorkshire.

In other Leeds news, a report has detailed a fascinating update on takeover talks as Massimo Cellino looks increasingly inclined to sell up.