Downing confirms that he will ‘probably retire’

Jason Soutar
Stewart Downing
Stewart Downing

Stewart Downing has confirmed that he is likely to retire from football after he leaves Blackburn Rovers next month.

The 36-year-old has made 725 club appearances during a 20-year career, which includes spells with Liverpool, West Ham, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Aston Villa.

Downing spoke to TalkSport about potentially hanging up his boots after his Blackburn contract expires.

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“The likelihood is I’ll probably retire.

“My contract has ended at Blackburn. I had a good few years there, I wasn’t involved as much last season.

“I re-signed in November, so I was getting up to speed and by the time I did, the season had petered out.

“After last season because I wasn’t involved in the first three or four months, I tried to get my head around if this could be it.

“But I went back to Blackburn for another six or seven months and then I thought, ‘I feel good, I feel fit’.

“There comes a time when you have to make a decision. You’ve got to get enjoyment from football and if you’re not playing, that’s a big thing for me.

“I wasn’t involved as much as I would have liked last season.

“If that’s the way it’s going to be going forward, I’ll look at something new and call it a day because it’s about playing and being involved on the Saturday after training all week.

“I was disappointed when I didn’t play last season, which is life, you get on with it. I’ve got a decision to make in the next couple of weeks, but I’ll probably retire.”

Downing found the most success at his hometown club Middlesbrough, winning the League Cup in 2004 and reaching the UEFA Cup final in 2006.

In 2009, the winger moved to Aston Villa, where he was a League Cup runner-up in his debut season.

However, difficult spells at Liverpool and West Ham saw Downing move back to Boro, where he stayed for another four years, before moving to Blackburn, who could potentially be his final club.

Downing played 35 times for England between 2005 and 2014, featuring frequently under Fabio Capello.