Players - Stewart Downing

Stewart Downing
Birthdate: 22 July 1984
Birthplace: Middlesbrough, England
Other clubs: Middlesbrough (2000-09), Sunderland (loan 2003), Aston Villa (2009-11), West Ham United (2013-15), Middlesbrough (2015-19), Blackburn Rovers (2019-21)
Bought from: Aston Villa
Signed for LFC: £18.5m, 15.07.2011
International debut: 09.02.2005 vs. Holland
International caps: 34/0 (7/0 at LFC) - 26.05.2012
Liverpool debut: 13.08.2011
Last appearance: 19.05.2013
Debut goal: 06.01.2012
Last goal: 10.03.2013
Contract expiry: 13.08.2013
Win ratio: 45.05% W:41 D:22 L:28
Games/assists ratio: 10.11
Honours: League Cup 2012
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 19 / 2
League games / goals / assists: 65 / 3 / 5
Total games / goals / assists: 91 / 7 / 9

Player Profile

Liverpool needed more than one attempt to secure Stewart Downing’s services. There were strong rumours about a move to Anfield following Middlesbrough’s relegation in 2009, but the then 24-year-old elected to join Aston Villa. In early July 2011, Liverpool made a bid believed to be £15 million. This was immediately rejected by the Midlands club and their new manager Alex McLeish declared that the winger would not be leaving Villa Park. However, history shows that every player has his price and Downing was no exception. When Liverpool came back with a higher offer, Villa allowed Downing to leave. Downing supported his local League club as a child and graduated from Boro’s Academy with glowing reports. He flourished under the managership of Steve McLaren and played in three Premier League matches towards the end of the 2001/02 season. His opportunities were limited in the next season but in 2003/04 he made 27 League appearances, seven of which came during a loan spell with Sunderland in the Championship. Downing became much more of a regular first-team player once his loan spell on Wearside was over, only once failing to make over 30 Premier League appearances in each of the next five seasons at Boro. The exception was the 2005/06 season when a knee injury caused him to miss five months of football, although he had recovered in time to take his place in the UEFA Cup final of 2006, in which Middlesbrough were outclassed by Sevilla. McLaren left to take on the England job but his replacement, Gareth Southgate, had similar faith in Downing. When McLaren left following England’s failure to qualify for the 2008 European Championships, Downing continued to be a regular member of the squads named by Fabio Capello. At the time of his move to Merseyside, Downing had been ‘capped’ on twenty-seven occasions.

Even though he was under contract to Aston Villa, Downing had become one of the footballers most expected to move on during the summer of 2011. The Guardian’s Barney Ronay referred to him as “the most undervalued of English footballers: intelligent, scuttlingly forceful and with some refined touches in his versatile left foot.” Kenny Dalglish was prepared to return early from Liverpool’s tour of the Far East with the purpose of finalising the Downing deal. Downing's first season as a Liverpool player can hardly be hailed as a success as he delivered no goals and no assists from the 36 Premier League matches he appeared in. Admittedly, he delivered a few brilliant goalscoring opportunities that were pitifully wasted, usually by Andy Carroll. Given an opportunity to open his league account for the club in the last home match, he placed a penalty-kick against the woodwork, something he and his teammates had really bad luck with during the whole season. Downing had better luck in the FA Cup, netting against Oldham in the third round and then scoring the winner in the sixth round against Stoke. But on the whole, it was a season the winger will look back on with regret, even though he picked up his second League Cup winners' medal.

Downing admitted that Brendan Rodgers was looking to sell him in the 2012 January transfer window, but he seemed to take aboard his boss' criticism. In December 2012 Rodgers revealed that he had heart-to-heart discussions with Downing that clearly paid off. "I spoke to Stewart about six or seven weeks ago and we had an honest conversation about where he was at. He's in his late 20s, he was an England international a few years ago and he wasn't playing. So we spoke about how he could get into the team. And I think his reaction from that moment like it has been for Jose Enrique and one or two others, has been outstanding." Whether he was used as a left-back or as a left/right winger Downing performed to the best of his ability in 2012/13 and finally got some assists to his name. He appeared in 83% of the club's first-team matches in 2012/13 and was the only man to appear in all twelve Europa League ties, a competition in which he scored two stunning goals, against Gomel away and Anzhi at home. Away from Europe, Downing played in twenty-nine of the thirty-eight Premier League matches and in all four domestic cup-ties.

Downing completed a move to West Ham United on 13 August 2013. He appeared in 29 of the Hammers' 38 Premier League matches during the 2013/14 season, scoring once, against Tottenham in the penultimate match of the season. He also appeared in five domestic cup-ties. Downing returned to Middlesbrough in the summer of 2015, playing in all bar one of their league games as they gained promotion back to the Premiership. At the end of 2016/17 Downing was transfer-listed by manager Gary Monk but he opted to stay and fight for his place, which he regained after Tony Pulis was brought in. He retained favour for 2018/19 but come January was suddenly left out of the side by Pulis, as it became apparent he was automatically entitled to a new contract if he started just one more game. After continuing to make an impact from the bench, this issue was eventually settled when Downing agreed to waive the clause, but he joined Blackburn Rovers on a free transfer at the end of the season and started 38 Championship games in 2019/20. 

In 2020/21 Downing featured far less for Blackburn, with sixteen of his eighteen appearances coming from the bench. At the beginning of August 2021 he confirmed that after reflecting on matters with his family, he was retiring from playing at the age of 37.
Appearances per season
Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 65 8 6 12 0 91
2011-2012 36 6 4 0 0 46
2012-2013 29 2 2 12 0 45
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
Apps Minutes Opponent
5 420 Manchester City
5 408 Swansea City
5 334 WBA
4 356 QPR
4 334 Aston Villa
4 331 Manchester United
4 320 Everton
4 316 Stoke City
4 304 Arsenal
4 265 Chelsea
4 255 Tottenham
4 237 Fulham
4 216 Sunderland
4 210 Newcastle United
3 260 Norwich City
3 254 Wigan Athletic
2 180 Udinese
2 180 Gomel
2 180 Anzhi Makhachkala
2 174 Zenit St. Petersburg
2 167 Young Boys
2 118 Hearts
2 116 Bolton Wanderers
2 115 West Ham United
2 49 Oldham Athletic
1 120 Cardiff City
1 90 Southampton
1 90 Blackburn Rovers
1 90 Wolves
1 90 Mansfield Town
1 76 Brighton & Hove Albion
1 33 Reading
1 31 Exeter City
Total Started/substitutions
75 Started
9 On the bench
16 Substitute
24 Substituted
Total Venue
44 Away
44 Home
3 Neutral
Total Competition
65 Premier League
12 Europa League
8 FA Cup
6 League Cup
Total W D L Win % Manager
46 20 11 15 43.5% Kenny Dalglish
45 21 11 13 46.7% Brendan Rodgers
Goals per season
Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 3 2 0 2 0 7
2011-2012 0 2 0 0 0 2
2012-2013 3 0 0 2 0 5
A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring
Total Started/substitutions
6 Started
1 Substitute
Total Competition
3 Premier League
2 Europa League
2 FA Cup
Total Goal minute period
1 1-15 minutes
3 46-60 minutes
2 61-75 minutes
1 76-90 minutes
Total Goal origin
7 Open play
Assists per season
Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 5 2 0 2 0 9
2011-2012 0 2 0 0 0 2
2012-2013 5 0 0 2 0 7
A more detailed look at the player's assists
Milestone Appearances
# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 13.08.2011 Sunderland Anfield League
50 23.08.2012 Hearts Tynecastle Stadium Europe
Milestone Goals
# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 90 06.01.2012 Oldham Athletic Anfield FA Cup
Related Articles
Liverpool need time

Liverpool Echo press report on Liverpool - Sunderland on 13.08.2011.

Related Quotes

"Stewart will fit in very well at Liverpool. I like him very much as a player and I am certain he will be a very big asset to them. Stewart is a very modern player. He can attack and defend and was involved in so many goals for Villa last season. He is one of the best crossers of a ball in the Premier League with (either his) right or left foot and is very skilful. He operates well on either side," added the Frenchman. "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 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. He 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. He is a good trainer, works hard and is that modern player."

Gerard Houllier on Stewart Downing's arrival at Liverpool

Other Clubs
Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Middlesbrough 2001-2002 England Premier League 3 0 4 0
Middlesbrough 2002-2003 England Premier League 2 0 6 1
Middlesbrough 2003-2004 England Premier League 20 0 38 0
Sunderland 2003-2004 England Championship 7 3 7 3
Middlesbrough 2004-2005 England Premier League 35 5 56 6
Middlesbrough 2005-2006 England Premier League 12 1 27 1
Middlesbrough 2006-2007 England Premier League 34 2 42 2
Middlesbrough 2007-2008 England Premier League 38 9 46 10
Middlesbrough 2008-2009 England Premier League 37 0 43 2
Aston Villa 2009-2010 England Premier League 25 2 37 3
Aston Villa 2010-2011 England Premier League 38 7 48 8
West Ham United 2013-2014 England Premier League 32 1 37 1
West Ham United 2014-2015 England Premier League 37 6 42 6
Middlesbrough 2015-2016 England Championship 45 3 49 3
Middlesbrough 2016-2017 Premier League 30 1 34 2
Middlesbrough 2017-2018 Championship 40 3 47 3
Middlesbrough 2017-2018 Championship 40 3 47 3
Middlesbrough 2018-2019 Championship 38 2 40 2
Blackburn Rovers 2019-2020 Championship 41 2 43 3
Total 554 50 693 59