Anfield

Next Game

Liverpool v West Ham

Saturday, 31 January 2015, 15:00

Barclays Prem

Ashton Gate

Last Game

Bristol C 0 - 1 West Ham

Sunday, 25 January 2015, 14:00

The FA Cup Fourth Round

Allardyce backs Downing

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has given his backing to Stewart Downing as the winger prepares to face his former club.

Last Updated: 02/11/13 at 09:00 Post Comment

Stewart Downing: Set for Aston Villa reunion

Stewart Downing: Set for Aston Villa reunion

Downing lines up against Aston Villa on Saturday in an Upton Park encounter between two sides who are struggling for Premier League consistency.

The winger has been criticised in some quarters for underachieving after winning 34 caps for his country - but Allardyce said of his £5m man: "Other people's opinion is of no interest to me. My opinion is the only opinion that matters between me and Stewart Downing.

"Stewart Downing had a difficult pre-season where he wasn't sure where he was coming or going. Finally he made a decision on West Ham United which we were delighted with and there's very good progression and much more contribution as the more games he plays.

"The more and more quality we see on a much more regular basis. There's a settling-in period like anybody else. People divide their opinion far too quickly in this game. Real Madrid have done it with Gareth Bale, haven't they?

"He's no good and he's a waste of money and all that is coming out of there now and then he scores two and now he's a hero.

"We all know as professionals we put in the ear plugs when that sort of stuff starts happening and get on with what we should professionally and that is concentrating on ourselves and our game and not getting unfocused by praise or criticism.

"You get praise through the media brilliantly as well but that can affect you just as much as the criticism so just don't listen to it, try to keep it at a minimum and keep focused and moving forward."

Joe Cole, another former England star who has struggled with injuries, played his first 90 minutes of the season for the Hammers in the Capital One Cup win over Burnley in midweek after recovering from a hamstring problem.

"It was a big boost for us as we never expected Joe to be out as long as he was," Allardyce added.

"It was a real blow after the way he started against Cardiff and then picked up what was considered only to be a slight hamstring problem before the game against Stoke.

"It's taken a lot longer than we thought. As long as we keep Joe fit he is a massive player for us and one we look forward to using and staying fit."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

was there, it was embarrassing - the team looked totally unbalanced from the off, the defence was woeful and when Mikel came off injured it got even worse with nobody in front of them. Up front on several occasions we had opportunities and nobody would shoot - it was a complete farse! On the back of Salah's performance I'm glad there is talk of getting shot...

Fly1ngh1gh
Cup defeat shames Mourinho

G

reat to see Tommy Rosicky getting some love. A wonderful player. Such a pity we lost so long to injury. I was so excited when we signed him, this resurgence only makes the absences seem more of a lost opportunity.

cheshire-gooner
16 Conclusions: FA Cup Fourth Round Weekend

A

pparently Chiles has blamed Twitter trolls for his exit. Proof that even the worst things can get great results at times.

cheshire-gooner
Adrian Chiles to leave ITV

Footer 365

Contract news: Robin van Persie unsure if he will be offered new Manchester United deal

Robin van Persie says he has no idea if he will be offered a new contract at Manchester United.

Manchester United U21s beat Liverpool 2-1 as Victor Valdes makes first appearance for the club

Goals from Nick Powell and Paddy McNair gave Manchester United's U21 side victory over Liverpool at Leigh Sports Village.

FA Cup: Giant-killers Bradford handed Sunderland or Fulham showdown in fifth round

Bradford's reward for knocking Chelsea out of the FA Cup is a fifth-round showdown with either Sunderland or Fulham.

Mail Box

The Problem With FA Cup Shocks...

...is that the draw for the next round is pretty shocking. Blackburn v Stoke, anybody? We also have mails on LVG and ManUnited, who drew plenty under Fergie...

You're Man Utd, For Crying Out Loud!

Defending a 0-0 draw with Cambridge on the grounds that other teams lost to lower-league opposition is not befitting of Man United. We're inclined to agree with Mailboxers...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company