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By ESPN Staff
Apr 4, 2006

Hasselbaink braced for Middlesbrough exit

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has indicated he will not be at Middlesbrough next season.

The 34-year-old striker is out of contract this summer and, with the end of the season just under five weeks away, there has been no approach from Boro about a new deal.

And the Dutch international appears to be resigned to the fact he is on his way out of the Riverside.

Hasselbaink, who came close to joining Newcastle during the January transfer window, said: 'There has been no indication they want me to stay. Nothing has been said, nobody has spoken to me.

'It's not that I accept anything because in football things change overnight, but you have to be realistic - if they wanted me to stay then they would have spoken to me already.'

Hasselbaink is far from bitter at the situation, adding: 'There have been worse things in my career, so it's not a disappointment. It's business as usual.

'Maybe they want a younger player, it's possible. It's up to them. But there are no hard feelings. I've had a magnificent time with Boro.

'It's a great club, one that is going somewhere because it has been structured by people who have a good eye for business.

'Whether Jimmy Hasselbaink is here next season, that has to be seen. I've an open mind. It's up to Middlesbrough what they want to do.

'I'm not really thinking about it. It's better not to because it's not in my hands. I'm just thinking about doing as well as possible for myself, the team, the club and the fans. That's the most important thing.

'In the summer hopefully something interesting will come up. Don't get me wrong, if it's Middlesbrough then I will be very delighted.'

With manager Steve McClaren's side still in the quarter-finals of the FA and UEFA Cups, the Dutchman - who moved north from Chelsea in July 2004 - would love to end his days with the club on a high by lifting one of those trophies.

Boro must first overturn a 2-0 deficit in Thursday's second leg of their UEFA Cup clash at home to Basle if they are to make the last four, while they face an FA Cup replay with Charlton next Wednesday.

'That would be a massive boost, if it's possible,' said Hasselbaink. 'If we win a trophy it will be magnificent. If we don't then it will mean nothing to me.'

Hasselbaink is determined to remain in the Premiership should he end up leaving the Teesside club and he believes age should be no barrier.

Now free of niggly ankle and thigh injuries which blighted the early part of his campaign, he has scored 11 goals in all competitions since the turn of the year - a record bettered only by Thierry Henry.

'I was overlooked a little bit at the start because of the injuries and because other players were also playing well,' reflected Hasselbaink.

'But then I started to get a chance, and I'm experienced enough to know you have to take it, to do well and enjoy yourself.

'I'm now fit and the confidence is growing, which is the most important thing for a player.

'I definitely see myself playing another two years. I have that in me, I enjoy it, so I don't want to stop yet.'