The 35-year-old central defender, who was talked out of calling time on his playing career last season, had been expected to hang up his boots after Boro’s Sky Bet Championship play-off final defeat by Norwich, but has signed a new deal in the wake of the double leg fracture suffered by new signing Alex Baptiste last weekend.
Now Woodgate and fellow England international Stewart Downing, who completed a £5m switch from West Ham on Thursday night, are heading for Spain to continue their preparations for the new season.
Head coach Aitor Karanka told the club’s official website, www.mfc.co.uk: “Woody will be important in the changing room.
“I really appreciated his reaction after hearing of Alex Baptiste’s injury last week, and he is ready to come back.
“He knows his role will be a bit different. He wants to come here to help us get promotion. I said last season, and I’ll say it again, he can be very important because he is a good person and a good lad.
“He was thinking about retiring 10 months ago and now he wants to help us. We are close to being a family here, and we’re pleased to say, ‘Welcome back Woody’.”