Move U-turn delights Downing

Liverpool midfielder Stewart Downing is confident his long-term future remains at Anfield after forcing Brendan Rodgers into a major U-turn.

Last Updated: 31/03/13 at 12:31 Post Comment

Stewart Downing: Back in favour at Anfield

Stewart Downing: Back in favour at Anfield

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The Reds boss told Downing that he was free to leave the club earlier in the season, however a string of eye-catching performances have seen the 28-year-old cement a regular place in the starting XI.

Downing has started Liverpool's last 15 Premier League fixtures and will face former club Aston Villa in the West Midlands on Sunday.

Speaking on his relationship with Rodgers, Downing told the Sunday Telegraph: "He wants me to stay, he's told me that.

"He said I have been brilliant and that's why he wants me to play every week. So, for me, that's all put to bed now."

Former Middlesbrough and Villa winger Downing looked set to leave Anfield in January after Rodgers told him he was surplus to requirements.

And the 34-cap England man admitted: "It was like a kick in the teeth; a shock. It hurt, it really did. I cannot afford not to be playing. Not at my age. He said: 'If things don't change you are free to leave.' He was quite open about it and credit to him for that.

"Everyone thought when he said it that that was it for me but I have actually always got on well with the manager and I have always worked hard. At Middlesbrough with Steve McClaren, I worked hard in a defensive, counter-attacking team and at Aston Villa it was the same.

"But the biggest criticism you can have is the manager saying you can go and I had that. I just felt I needed a chance, that I needed a run of games."

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S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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