'Class act, what a player': What Middlesbrough fans are saying as former winger Stewart Downing retires
Former Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing has announced his retirement following a professional career which lasted 20 years and saw him play over 700 games.
The 37-year-old came through the ranks at Boro and was an influential figure as the club reached the Uefa Cup final in 2006.
Downing went on to play for Aston Villa, Liverpool and West Ham before returning to the Riverside in 2015 and helping Boro win promotion from the Championship.
The winger also earned 35 England caps and finished his career at Blackburn, where he spent two seasons playing under Tony Mowbray.
Here’s how some Boro fans reacted to the news on social media:
@jimmylees: What a player. He deserves a hell of a lot of respect and admiration for what he’s achieved with our football club.
@Chris_Garbutt87: Class act, what a player. Enjoy your retirement Stewy
@benjaab: A genuine legend and brilliant player. The way he helped drag us through that UEFA cup semi final won’t ever be forgotten. Still tell people to this day: “that is the best cross I’ve ever seen live.”
@mikesimpson1969: Great player. I remember seeing him when he first started for Boro, and he always looked dangerous when he had the ball. Running at defenders, putting crosses in. Best wishes to him for his future. UTB.
@Gibson_Is_King: Without doubt a legend. Achieved what all Boro fans can only dream about. Hope he can pass on his experience to the benefit of local kids. Good luck Stewy and thanks for the greatest memories
@4TheLoveOfBoro: 725 appearances, 63 goals and 97 assists. Superb career. Boro hero. Etched into our club’s history forever.
@AntonSedgeman1: Never forget his cross onto Maccarones head
@KapoorBrogen: In his prime/form was unstoppable on that left wing.
@SEasby12: Happy retirement to 'the boy wonder' gets in my all time Boro XI. Over 400 apps for the club. Was a part of the big moments post-98. The Carling Cup run, the runs in Europe and Promotion in 2016
@MrNewts4: Hugely underrated but for me he is up there with the best that have played at the Riverside. So many times he dragged us back into games with that wand of a left foot.