Downing’s Career On The Up

England midfielder Stewart Downing has signed for Liverpool for a fee of £20million. The England international takes Liverpool’s spending spree to a total of £100m so far this summer.

He is one of three Brits to join the Reds during the close season alongside Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam, who will all be joining the ranks of Anfield star Steven Gerrard.

Manager Kenny Dalgleish has not been shy of spending in the transfer window and Downing looks set to be another decent signing. The midfielder can provide something that many clubs do not have: a natural left-footed winger.

Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier seems to think that Downing will be a huge success at the club. He said: ‘Stewart will fit in very well at Liverpool. I like him very much as a player and I am certain he will be a big asset to them.’

Houllier, who left Villa Park due to health problems became an admirer of Downing when the Englishman was playing for him: ‘He is a very modern player. He can attack and defend and was involved in so many of Villa’s goals last season.

‘He is one of the best crossers of the ball in the Premier League with his right or left foot and is very skilful. He operates well on either side. I played him on the left but he also likes to play on the right, where he can cut inside and pose problems. He is adaptable and versatile and of course all managers appreciate that.

‘Stewart is very, very professional. He takes on board everything you tell him and is very intelligent about the game.

‘He picks up the details that can be so important. He has played for England but I now think he is ready to go on and confirm and consolidate his career as an international.

‘As I said, he can play right or left or even behind the striker and has the versatility to fit into different systems, whether it is a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3. I very much enjoyed working with him at Aston Villa.

‘Along with Ashley Young, he really improved his game. He is a good trainer, works hard and is that modern player.

‘Stewart is also a team-player and if you are under the cosh he is willing to do more than his normal job, which is a very important quality.

‘As a coach or manager, Stewart is a player who never disappoints you. Over 10 games he will give you nine very good performances and this is why I think he will be a good signing for Liverpool.’

It is clear then that Downing is an intelligent signing by Dalglish given Houllier’s opinion of the player. He should provide the team an outlet and attacking creativity that Liverpool were lacking in the 2010/2011 campaign.

James Harris

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