Stewart Downing - Signed For Liverpool On This Day 15th July 2011

Stewart Downing

Kenny Dalglish certainly had his spending head on in 2011. After the departure of Fernando Torres in January 2011, Dalglish went on a bit of a spending spree. Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez arrived in January 2011 for combined fees of about £57m. All paid for by the sale of Torres, bar £7m. King Kenny continued his spending spree in the summer of 2011. One of his captures was Stewart Downing from Aston Villa. The fee raised a few eyebrows at the time though. A fee in the region of £20m was negotiated between the two clubs.

Stewart Downing

Stewart Downing - Signed For Liverpool On This Day 15th July 2011
Stewart Downing – Signed For Liverpool On This Day 15th July 2011

Stewart Downing signed for Liverpool on this day 15th July 2011. As it happens his last game for Aston Villa was against Liverpool on the last day of the 2010/11 season. He even scored the winner in Villa’s 1-0 win at Villa Park.

That was his 8th goal of the season for Villa. Liverpool were impressed enough to part with a cool £20m or so to secure his services. Downing arrived with a proven track record for being a good creator of goals. Before his stint at Villa he built a fine reputation at Middlesbrough. I remember one game in particular at Anfield in the 2007/08 season against Boro. A game Liverpool won 3-2. We went 1-0 down early on. Torres rattled in a hat trick and Downing scored Boro’s second. He had a cracking game that day and looked the part to be fair.

Not sure he was worth the £20m or so when we signed him just over 3 years later. Still, he came as an England international and in a decent spell of form, so all things considered it may have been a shrewd move after all.

Linked Before

Liverpool were in fact linked with Downing before. There were strong rumours that he was on his way to Anfield following Middlesbrough’s relegation in 2009. But not to be. He chose to sign for Aston Villa.

Home Town Club

Stewart Downing was born in Middlesbrough and he supported his local League club as a boy. Having signed for Boro at a very early age, Downing graduated from Boro’s Academy with glowing reports. He did flourish under the watchful eye of future England manager, Steve McLaren and he played in three Premier League matches towards the end of the 2001/02 season.

The next season however, were limited but in the following 2003/04 season he made 27 Premier League appearances. Seven of these came while on loan to local rivals Sunderland in the Championship.

Downing was more of regular first-team player after his Sunderland loan spell was over. Over the next five seasons he only once failed to make 30+ Premier League appearances at Boro. The exception season was the 2005/06 season. During this season he was out for five months with a serious knee injury.

Although McLaren left to become England manager, his replacement Gareth Southgate, also had faith in Downing. McLaren picked Downing regularly for England. As did his successor, Fabio Capello, who became England manager following England’s failure to qualify for the 2008 European Championships.

At the time of his move to Liverpool, Downing had made 27 appearances for his country.

Topsy Turvy Spell

Downing enjoyed quite a topsy turvy spell while at Liverpool. In fact, Kenny Dalglish’s successor, Brendan Rodgers was reportedly looking to offload Downing in the January 2012 transfer window. He didn’t and it was reported that the two of them had a good old heart to heart to iron out differences. It seemed to work as Downing seemed to step up to the plate. He stayed until the end of the 2012/13 season as it happens when he moved to West Ham in August 2013.

In all Stewart Downing made 91 appearances for Liverpool – scoring 7 goals. He played a total of 34 times for England (7 times while with Liverpool) but he failed to find the net for his country.

Stewart Downing – signed on this day 15th July 2011.

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