Gareth Southgate has brushed off the Stewart Downing saga as just one more challenge as he attempts to cope with the madness of football management.
The 38-year-old former England defender has spent the last week fending off Tottenham's concerted pursuit of his prize asset, while at the same time trying to persuade Downing that his future lies on Teesside.
Asked if this is the most difficult period of his reign to date, he said: "No. Don't forget, I had to learn a job from scratch, and that first year was the most unbelievable life experience you could imagine."
He added: "There are very few people in football who have experienced that. I was talking to a former team-mate of mine earlier in the week, talking about the change from maybe going from assistant to being a manager and what a huge leap that is.
"I walked straight out of the dressing room. The Premier League is an unbelievable place to manage a football club because of all the things we are talking about as much as anything else.
"Yes, every day brings problems, it's the nature of the problems that is different. Obviously, for different reasons, our club has been a bit more in the spotlight this week, but it just means the problems are more public.
"We have had issues with various things, not just players, every day of the week for the two and a half years I have been in charge. It's the same with managing in any business and in any walk of life."
It is a battle he seems to have won, for the meantime at least - chairman Steve Gibson and chief executive Keith Lamb have steadfastly refused to do business with Spurs, or Portsmouth over midfielder Gary O'Neil or indeed, anbody else coveting one of his players.
However, there is little doubt that Downing's decision to hand in a transfer request and the frank exchanges of views which followed have done little to improve the atmosphere at the Riverside Stadium.
Boro remain adamant that there will be no change of heart on Downing's availability and Spurs are now understood to have turned to their other options.
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