Credit to Rodgers for Downing’s upturn in form

When Liverpool secured the signing of Stewart Downing from Middlesbrough almost two years ago, Aston Villa fans must have been laughing all the way to the bank. For the £20m they deposited, the Reds were attaining a player that, when the pressure is thrust upon him, regularly under performs.

Not to mention the fact that, had Downing not been English, he would have cost a little more than £10m, at an absolute push. Under Kenny Dalglish, it wasn’t a surprise to see the winger on the receiving end of ridicule following a season without any goals or assists.

When the Liverpool hero wasn’t shown the Anfield exit door over the summer, many had expected Downing to follow suit, with Brendan Rodgers hinting that a move away from the club back in January was the most likely outcome.

However, while it appeared his days were numbered, Downing kept his head down and worked hard for his place and when called upon, impressed, be it on the wing or at left-back. The defensive switch improved the player significantly and, as such, is currently one of the first names on the team sheet.

The major benefactor that improved Downing’s Liverpool stock was the confidence instilled in him, while operating in defence allowed him to improve his mindset, so from experience he now knows how to beat the opposition, and to damaging effect and it’s fair to say Rodgers deserves the utmost credit for improving the winger as a player.