Robbie Keane's time at Middlesbrough is over after the Championship relegation battlers sacked Jonathan Woodgate as manager and replaced him with Neil Warnock.

The Teesiders parted company with the former England international this morning, three days after a damaging 3-0 home defeat by Swansea that left them outside of the relegation places only on goal difference.

Keane had been Woodgate's assistant since June 2019.

Middlesbrough's initial announcement of the managerial change made no mention of the Republic of Ireland record goalscorer, who recently lost his position as a coach with the national team when Stephen Kenny succeeded Mick McCarthy.

A club statement said: "MFC can confirm that head coach Jonathan Woodgate has been relieved of his duties with immediate effect.

"Jonathan was relieved of his role on Tuesday morning and will be replaced by the experienced Neil Warnock. Warnock will assume responsibility immediately.

"The club would like to place on record its thanks to Jonathan for all his work in the role of head coach."

But a later statement from the club read: "Robbie Keane has opted to leave the club following the decision to relieve Jonathan Woodgate of his duties as head coach.

"The Irishman's contract was due to expire at the end of the current season and with Neil Warnock bringing in his own coaches, Robbie has decided to leave the club with immediate effect.

"The club would like to place on record its thanks to Robbie for all his hard work and wish him well for his future in coaching and management."

Former Boro defender Woodgate, who was already on the coaching staff at the cub's Rockliffe Park training headquarters, was handed the reins by chairman Steve Gibson in June last year after impressing during the interview process, and quickly asked former Leeds and Tottenham team-mate Keane to join him. 

Woodgate took charge of 41 games but won only nine of them, and with eight Championship fixtures remaining, Middlesbrough sit in 21st place in the table.

The widely travelled Warnock has been out of the game since he left Cardiff in November.

Woodgate expressed his disappointment on his Instagram account, posting: "Today was a day that I hoped would never come, but I've been in football long enough to know that these things happen.

"To be given the chance to manage my home-town club, the club that I love, is something I will never forget and I will always be grateful to Steve Gibson for the opportunity.

"There is no one more disappointed than me at how things have gone, and believe me, there hasn't been one moment when I've ever stopped thinking about the job and how to improve and make things better.

"I'd like to thank the players for their efforts, in very difficult circumstances at times, and I'd like to thank all the staff at the football club, many of who will remain good friends.

"I'd like to thank the fans for your backing. I know it hasn't been easy for you, but the support you have shown and the backing you have given is something I will never forget, and has meant so much to me.

"I'd also like to wish Neil Warnock every success. I'll always be a Boro fan, it's my football club, and I hope Neil and the players can finish the job this season and keep the club in the Championship. I have every belief that will happen. Thank you."