Middlesbrough defender Jonathan Woodgate offers no excuses for his conviction for affray seven years ago and admits the experience brought many home truths.

Woodgate told the Daily Express: "Now I look back I wish I had sometimes been a bit stronger in myself. I have had mates selling stories on me, which I find difficult to take.

In the past I would let people off if they did disloyal things, but I'm definitely different now. I do hold a grudge. You have to otherwise you just get walked over.

"You have got to have a mind of your own. You can't blame other people for your mistakes. I wasn't the innocent one all the time. If I did something wrong I take the rap for it.

"Somebody will always ask about the court case. I sometimes think, let's put that in the past, but it always crops up. If I score the World Cup final winning goal they might start to say Jonathan Woodgate, World Cup winner, not Jonathan Woodgate, convicted of affray - and it was seven years ago.

"I try to just get on with my life as well as I can and put it in the past, but even now I know there are rumours, just made-up stories about me. I have heard the one about me burning £20 notes about 50 times. If I ever did that my dad would kill me.

"As a footballer you always get these silly stories flying around. A lot of players have it, so in that sense I am no different."