Downing playing for Middlesbrough in 2008
|Full name||Stewart Downing|
|Date of birth||22 July 1984|
|Place of birth||Middlesbrough, England|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Playing position||Winger/Attacking midfielder|
|2003||→ Sunderland (loan)||7||(3)|
|2013–2015||West Ham United||69||(7)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 04:30, 20 April 2016 (UTC).
Stewart Downing (born 22 July 1984) is an English professional footballer who plays for Middlesbrough and the England national team. He has played most of his career as a winger, where he operates predominantly on the left-hand side, though he can play on the right and go inside on to his stronger left foot. Downing has also played in the left-back position and more recently as an attacking central midfielder.
He was formed at Middlesbrough, where after a loan at Sunderland, he became a key part of the team, winning the League Cup in 2004 and helping them to the UEFA Cup final two years later. In 2009, after Boro's relegation, he joined Aston Villa for an initial £10 million, then moved on to Liverpool for twice that amount two years later, again winning the League Cup in 2012. He played for two seasons at West Ham United before returning to Middlesbrough.
Downing was born in Middlesbrough, and was a graduate of the Middlesbrough Academy. His debut came on 24 April 2002 in a Premier League game away at Ipswich Town, playing the full 90 minutes of a 1–0 loss at Portman Road. He was limited to just three appearances during that season, plus a further three the following season. His first senior goal came on 1 October 2002 in a 4–1 League Cup second round away victory over Brentford, coming on as a substitute to conclude the scoring at Griffin Park.
On 30 October 2003, Downing went on a one-month loan to Sunderland, of the Championship. He scored three goals in seven games for Mick McCarthy's Black Cats team, starting on 4 November when he equalised in a 3–1 win at Gillingham, also assisting John Oster. Having scored as many goals on his loan as Middlesbrough's top scorer Szilárd Németh had recorded all season, Downing was recalled from his loan on 11 December due to injury to Juninho. He was a regular for the remainder of the season, but was an unused substitute on 29 February 2004, when they won the League Cup final against Bolton Wanderers.
The 2004–05 season saw Downing make 49 appearances, scoring six goals, as well as providing numerous assists. In a UEFA Cup match against Lazio in November 2004, both Downing and Zenden were in the starting line-up. Though Zenden scored both goals in the 2–0 victory, Downing drew praise for his performance down the left. Such performances that season saw him called up to Sven-Göran Eriksson's England squad in February 2005 for a friendly against the Netherlands.
A knee injury saw Downing sidelined for five months at the end of 2005, though he returned to play his part in the run to the 2006 UEFA Cup Final, including three assists in the 4–2 (4–3 agg) victory over Steaua Bucharest in the semi-final second leg.
On 26 February 2008, Downing signed a new five-year contract, keeping him signed on at Middlesbrough until summer 2013. With the departure of Mark Schwarzer in May 2008, Downing became Middlesbrough's second longest serving player after Brad Jones.
The 2008–09 season was a mixed one for Downing. Middlesbrough had their best start to the season in six years which saw them climb to 8th in the table, however, a terrible winless run which started in November 2008 saw them fall into the relegation zone. On 5 January 2009, he handed in a written transfer request expressing his desire to leave the club but the request was turned down on the same day. In the penultimate match of the season, he sustained a foot injury after a challenge from Stiliyan Petrov in a home game against Aston Villa in May, which needed an operation, ruling him out for at least four months. After spending the whole of the second half of the season in the relegation zone, Middlesbrough were relegated on the final day after they lost 2–1 away at West Ham United. Downing, having started every league game, except the last match, ended the season with no league goals, having only scored two against West Ham United in the FA Cup.
Following Middlesbrough's relegation, Downing signed a four-year contract with Aston Villa, becoming Martin O'Neill's first signing of the 2009 Summer transfer window for a fee of £10 million with an extra £2 million to be paid depending on appearances. On 7 November 2009, O'Neill announced that Downing had returned to full training following his injury against Villa while playing for Middlesbrough during the 2008–09 season. Downing made his Aston Villa début coming on as a 69th-minute substitute for Steve Sidwell in the away game versus Burnley. He scored his first goal for Villa in the League Cup fourth round tie against Portsmouth at Fratton Park on 1 December 2009.
Downing's return to action saw him returning to his preferred left wing role, with James Milner moving to central midfield for Villa. Downing played in Villa's first win at Old Trafford against Manchester United since 1983 on 12 December 2009 in their 1–0 victory over the Red Devils. Downing then went on to score his first and second league goal for Villa in their 5–2 win against Burnley on 2 February 2010. His second season with Aston Villa had been a much improved one, he scored the first Premier League goal of the season against West Ham United at Villa Park on 14 August in a 3–0 win. His next goal came against Stoke City with a curling header on 13 September. Against Aston Villa's rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers at Villa Park, he scored his third goal of the season from a Marc Albrighton cross. In the League Cup game versus Burnley, he scored an extra-time winner to send Villa through to the next round. On 10 November he scored his fifth of the season against Blackpool which saw Villa win the match 3–2. On 21 November 2010, Downing started and played the full 90 minutes against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in a 2–0 defeat. He netted his sixth of the season against Villa rival's West Brom. On 26 February, Downing scored against Blackburn Rovers at Villa Park in a match which Villa went on to win 4–1. In the final game of the season, Downing scored his eighth against Liverpool at Villa Park with the result ending 1–0. At the end of the 2010–11 season Downing made 44 appearances and scored 8 goals in all competitions. Downing was the subject of speculation over the summer, with Liverpool showing interest in the winger. On 6 July, Liverpool tabled a bid of £15 million for Downing but this was rejected by Villa, who said they would not let Downing go for less than £20m. New Villa boss Alex McLeish then stated that Downing was not for sale and he would not be leaving Villa in the summer. However, on 13 July 2011, a fee was agreed between Aston Villa and Liverpool for the transfer of Downing.
Downing completed his move to Liverpool on 15 July 2011, for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £20 million. On Saturday 13 August 2011, Downing made his debut in Liverpool's first game of the 2011–12 Premier League, in a 1–1 draw against Sunderland at Anfield, playing the full 90 minutes. On Saturday 20 August 2011, he started and played the full 90 minutes against Arsenal in a 2–0 victory at the Emirates Stadium. On 6 January 2012, Downing scored his first goal for Liverpool against Oldham Athletic at Anfield in the third round of the FA Cup. On 26 February he won the League Cup with Liverpool, scoring his penalty in the shoot-out and winning the Alan Hardaker Trophy as Man of the Match. On 18 March 2012 he scored the winner in a 2–1 victory over Stoke City in the FA Cup quarter-final, securing a second Wembley visit for Liverpool in the semi-finals in what was described as "his most telling Liverpool contribution" so far. He also became the first player in seven years to miss three consecutive penalty kicks in the Premier League. He finished the Premier League season with no goals and no assists.
Downing scored the winner in Liverpool's first competitive game of the 2012–13 season, a left foot shot in a Europa League match against Gomel. On 30 August 2012, Downing was deployed as a left-back against Hearts. He scored the winning and only goal against Anzhi Makhachkala at Anfield in the Europa League. After the game he was praised by manager Brendan Rodgers saying "It's been a tough time. He's had a rough ride but he's an important member of our team." On 22 December, he made his first league assist and scored his first league goal in a 4–0 win against Fulham. He scored his second league goal for the club on 2 March 2013, opening the scoring in a 4–0 win away to Wigan Athletic, with a header from a Philippe Coutinho cross. In Liverpool's next game Downing scored the equalizer against Tottenham Hotspur, in a 3–2 home victory for Liverpool. This marked Downing's fifth goal in all competitions and his last goal for Liverpool. He scored seven goals in 91 games in all competitions before leaving Liverpool in August 2013.
West Ham United
On 13 August 2013, Downing signed a four-year contract with West Ham United for an officially undisclosed fee which was reported to be in the region of £5m. He made his debut for the club, coming on as a substitute for Matt Jarvis in the 2–0 home win against Cardiff City at Upton Park on the opening day of the 2013–14 season on 17 August 2013. Downing scored his first goal for West Ham on 3 May 2014 in a 2–0 home win against Tottenham Hotspur.
In the 2014–15 season, Downing scored his first goal of the season against Crystal Palace in a 3–1 away win on 23 August 2014. Downing continued his fine form for West Ham in a diamond formation which saw him being deployed in a central role. On 1 November 2014, Downing scored for West Ham against Stoke City in a 2–2 away draw, with West Ham coming from two goals down to draw 2–2. Downing scored his third goal of the season against Sunderland in a 1–1 draw away from home on 13 December 2014. A week later, he scored against Leicester City, curling a left-footed shot from 20 yards as West Ham won 2–0.
Return to Middlesbrough
On 16 July 2015, Downing returned to boyhood club Middlesbrough, signing a four-year contract for an officially undisclosed fee which was reported as £5.5m rising to £7m if Middlesbrough gain promotion to the Premier League. The first game of his return was on 9 August, a goalless draw at Preston North End in the first Championship game of the season. On 12 September, he netted the first goal of his second spell, to open a 2–0 win over Milton Keynes Dons at the Riverside.
Downing was first called up as a 19-year-old for the 2003 UEFA European U-19 Championship. With seven Under-21 caps to his credit, Downing made his England debut on 9 February 2005 in a home friendly, played at Villa Park against the Netherlands, replacing Shaun Wright-Phillips in the second half.
Downing's international career took a setback in May 2005 when he was injured during a training session with England on their tour of the United States, keeping him out of action until 2006. Downing was included in the England World Cup squad in May 2006 by Sven-Göran Eriksson, primarily as a back-up for Joe Cole, and came on as a second-half substitute in England's victorious opening game against Paraguay. He was brought on once again in the match against Trinidad and Tobago, when England scored two goals in the last ten minutes.
On 16 August 2006, Downing made his first start for England, as Greece were beaten by 4–0, with Downing involved in three of the goals. He started the subsequent three Euro 2008 qualifiers, against Andorra and the Republic of Macedonia. Downing hoped to have proven many of his critics wrong after Fabio Capello became the third successive England manager to give him an England cap, on 26 March 2008 in a 1–0 friendly defeat to France. He was also called up (alongside Middlesbrough teammate David Wheater) for Capello's friendlies against United States and Trinidad and Tobago, where he received the nod ahead of Ashley Young. His performance justified his selection by contributing with the first two goals and won praise from the press who had previously slated his inclusion in the squad. A few months after Capello took charge of England, the Italian boss stated that he had been most impressed by Downing. He was chosen again by Capello to replace Aaron Lennon for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro on 12 October 2010. During his second season with Aston Villa, Downing began to feature regularly for England under Capello.
After his transfer to Liverpool, he featured in the two qualifying matches at the start of the season, a 3–0 win against Bulgaria, and a 1–0 win against Wales in which he provided the assist for the only goal of the game scored by former Aston Villa team mate Ashley Young. He also came on at half-time to replace Theo Walcott in the 1–0 win against Spain and started the following game against Sweden which England also won 1–0. On 16 May 2012, new England manager Roy Hodgson named Downing in his 23-man squad for the upcoming UEFA Euro 2012 tournament. He started in a 1–0 win away to Norway on 26 May, which was Hodgson's first game in charge of England. Downing did not make an appearance during Euro 2012. Having not appeared in a squad since 2012, in November 2014 Downing was called in the squad for England games against Slovenia and Scotland.
- As of 16 July 2016
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Sunderland (loan)||2003–04||First Division||7||3||0||0||0||0||—||7||3|
|Aston Villa||2009–10||Premier League||25||2||6||0||4||1||0||0||35||3|
|West Ham United||2013–14||Premier League||32||1||1||0||4||0||—||37||1|
- As of match played 18 November 2014.
- Alan Hardaker Trophy: 2012
- Aston Villa Player of the Season Award: 2011
- Middlesbrough Player of the Season Award: 2005, 2008
- Middlesbrough Young Player of the Season Award: 2004
Downing has been involved in several charitable and community projects outside his playing career. He supports the nationwide No Messin' campaign, along with freestyler Colin Nell and boxer Amir Khan, warning youngsters against playing on railway lines. Downing held a charity dinner with special guest boxer Ricky Hatton to raise funds for the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle Upon Tyne in February 2008. The hospital had cared for Vicky, Stewart's sister, who died of leukaemia in 1993 at the age of 4. The honorary position of president of Middlesbrough Futsal Club was bestowed on Downing in December 2007. During his spare time Downing has DJ-ed at several nightclubs in Middlesbrough while also playing sets in Ibiza among other places.
Downing's former agent Ian Elliott was arrested by Cleveland Police in September 2008 after he was reported to the police by the player himself after he had concerns "regarding the way his and his company's affairs [had] been handled". He told Middlesbrough about his concerns some time earlier and the club advised him to involve lawyers and accountants to investigate, while The FA acted as liaison between the police and the club.
Downing was arrested on suspicion of assault early in the morning of 8 January 2012, after an alleged confrontation with a former girlfriend. However, he was subsequently released without charge when it was proven that Downing was not in the Cross Keys pub in Yarm, North Yorkshire, at the time of the assault.
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- Fixture | West Ham vs Spurs
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- Middlesbrough F.C. Player of the Year
-  Archived 28 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
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- "Downing's former agent arrested". BBC Sport. 3 September 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
- "Liverpool's Stewart Downing will not face charges following arrest". The Guardian. London. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
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