Middlesbrough FC news: Stewart Downing's Boro admission as Sheffield Wednesday boss explains striker dilemma

Stewart Downing has admitted he wouldn’t have rejoined boyhood club Middlesbrough if former manager Sam Allardyce had stayed at West Ham.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 12:51 pm
Stewart Downing left Middlesbrough after his contract expired at the end of last season.

Downing, who joined Championship side Blackburn in the summer, signed for Boro from the Hammers in 2015, two months after Allardyce left the London club.

The 35-year-old winger has previously opened up on the challenges he faced during his second spell at the Riverside and says a return wouldn’t have happened under different circumstances.

“If Big Sam had stayed, I wouldn’t have left for Middlesbrough,” Downing told the Athletic. “I wouldn’t even have entertained it. I reckon Big Sam probably would’ve given me a contract extension and obviously, I would’ve signed it and stayed.

“I even said to [Slaven] Bilic, ‘If you give me an extension, I’ll stay,’ but he said he couldn’t because of my age. That’s what probably pushed me to Middlesbrough.

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“Of all the managers I’ve played under, Big Sam got the best out of me. There was a time when I was at Middlesbrough that I could’ve gone to play for him at Crystal Palace on loan but it didn’t happen in the end.”

Birmingham tickets go on general sale – Back at Boro, tickets for the Teessiders’ trip to Brimingham next month have gone on general sale.

Jonathan Woodgate’s side will visit St Andrew’s on Friday , October 4 (7:45pm kick-off) after the match was moved for TV purposes.

Boro were handed an initial allocation of 1,500 tickets for the match and, as of yesterday lunch time, 300 of those were still available.

Garry Monk explains striker decision – The new Sheffield Wednesday boss is yet to select former Boro striker Jordan Rhodes in his two matchday squads since taking over at Hillsborough earlier this month.

Ahead of the Owls’ trip to the Riverside on Saturday, Monk told the Sheffield Star: “It is very difficult. I wish I could have everyone on the bench.

“Jordan deserves to be on the bench or even starting games, but I have to pick a squad.”