Stewart Downing believes West Ham move saved his England career…
Stewart Downing is set to star for England against Slovenia on Saturday, after two years away from international scene, and the West Ham midfielder believes leaving Liverpool saved his international career.
Reports in the Daily Mail explain that the 30-year-old was used in defence by Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool, but his move to West Ham last year has now rejuvenated his Three Lions career.
Downing was playing left back for Liverpool when he got a call from the chief executive Ian Ayre in August last year, and as the Mail rightly reasons: ‘West Ham have made an offer, we’ve agreed a fee and it’s up to you,’ is football code for one thing: pack your bags.
The 30-year-old never really understood the reasons why Brendan Rodgers played him in defence during his first season at Anfield. Downing has always been a forward and he has been in sparkling form in a number of advanced roles for Sam Allardyce’s upwardly mobile West Ham team.
“I’m honest enough to think my England career had gone,” he admitted. “I hadn’t been picked for two-and-a-half years and I thought Roy would go with the younger players. But you’ve just got to keep playing well and hopefully knock on the door. I am over the moon to be here.”
Downing’s flexibility appeals to Hodgson and is something that was picked up on by England scouts when he drifted in from the right and scored a beauty with his left foot against Crystal Palace in August.
“I was getting used at left back when I was a winger,” he added. “I think you know when the writing is on the wall for you under a manager or at a club. West Ham came at a good time for me to work for a manager who wanted me to play every week. Liverpool is a great club and not many people walk out of there easily.”
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