Stewart Downing opens up on Middlesbrough departure amid interest from Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday

Former Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing has opened up on his departure from the Riverside this summer after joining Blackburn Rovers at the end of last season.

Wednesday, 14th August 2019, 16:57 pm
Stewart Downing re-signed for Middlesbrough in 2015.

The 35-year-old could line-up against Boro when the Teessiders travel to Blackburn this weekend and has featured in Rovers’ opening two Championship fixtures.

According to Downing, both Sheffield Wednesday and Rangers were options, yet the attraction of playing for former Boro boss Tony Mowbray was an attractive proposition.

During an interview with Gazette Live, Downing was also asked if there was an option to stay at Boro and his thoughts on new head coach Jonathan Woodgate.

“If it had stayed like it was, no disrespect to Tony Pulis, but I would have left,” said Downing.

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“I didn't know Jonathan would get the job, I didn't know what was happening, I thought they may have gone with someone else. So it was in the back of my mind that it was time to go.”

Downing was a regular starter for Boro in the first half of last season but rarely featured in the new year year due to a clause in his contract.

“Early in the season we went after teams, we were pressing, then we got a couple of knocks along the way and it was almost a case of reverting to type and defending,” added Downing.

“Being honest, I think the players we had we weren't set up to play that way and it showed with the amount of goals we ended up getting. It was hard enough getting in their half never mind scoring.”

When asked how he thinks Woodgate will do in management, Downing added: “You look at the squad and it looks a bit light.

“He's got some young players in and it's going to take time. These lads are young, even someone like Lewis Wing hasn't got a lot of league football behind him.

“You've got to give Woody time, there'll be dips in form. In terms of league position I wouldn't like to say but I'm guessing for Jonathan it's more about seeing an improvement in the playing style and getting the players he wants.”