Boro sever ties with Hasselbaink

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The new Middlesbrough manager, Gareth Southgate, demonstrated a ruthless streak yesterday when he told Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink that his contract will not be renewed.

Still settling into his job, the 35-year-old former England defender took the difficult decision to dispense with the Dutchman's services as he looks to re-shape his squad for the new campaign. Southgate, who played alongside the 34-year-old former Leeds and Chelsea star during the last two years of his career, admitted he had reached his conclusion reluctantly.

"I have spoken to Jimmy and explained to him we are not going to renew his contract," he said . "It was a very difficult decision to make because he has done an excellent job for us. I have to make some tough decisions in this job and this one certainly wasn't easy, but I have to do what I think is right for the club.

"Jimmy's a good player and I'm sure he will score goals for somebody. But I've got excellent striking options here and feel we really need to strengthen in other positions that have to take priority. He scored some very important goals for us over the last two seasons, helping to get us into Europe in the first place and then playing a big part in our run to the Uefa Cup final."

Hasselbaink joined Boro from Chelsea on a free transfer two summers ago as the then manager Steve McClaren looked to add firepower to his side. He was recruited along with £4.5m Leeds striker Mark Viduka, and the pair formed a formidable partnership, but the arrival of £7.5m signing Aiyegbeni Yakubu from Portsmouth a year ago increased competition for places at the Riverside.