It is safe to say that 2012 has not been a year to remember for Liverpool winger Stewart Downing.
He has scored just five goals in the last twelve months, with his only Premier League strike coming just last weekend.
However, despite his poor performances on Merseyside and a lot of speculation that he might be leaving, the England international insists he doesn’t want to play his football anywhere else.
Downing arrived for £20 million from Aston Villa in 2011 when Kenny Dalglish seemed to be spending money like it was going out of fashion. The fans then of course had bit expectations, as you would do when you sign someone for so much money – but the 28-year-old has failed to live up to his price tag.
Brendan Rodgers of course came to Liverpool at the start of the season and Downing did admit that he thought he would be leaving in the New Year.
He said: “I wanted to stay, I didn’t want to leave but it was out of my hands. We had that conversation and, to be honest, I thought I was on my way in January.
“I don’t know who makes that decision but one minute I was being told I was doing well and the next I was told I could go. It was a bit confusing.”
However, his performances over the last few weeks have really started to improve and that long awaited Premier League goal could just give him the confidence to go on and have a decent season.
Downing added: “It’s been good for the last couple of months and I am pleased it has come together because I’ve worked hard to get to a club like this and I don’t want to leave in a hurry.”
The former Middlesbrough man has been a flop at Liverpool so far – there is no hiding that. But, you have to admire his attitude as it would have been easy to just hand in a transfer request, go back to Boro maybe and then be a very good Championship player.
That isn’t what he wants though, he wants to play at the highest level possible and you have to respect that.
He needs to start proving and scoring goals on a regular basis now though and maybe he is ready to do that. Liverpool of course have a busy run of games over Christmas, so need everyone at their best – including Downing.
It might be a lot to ask for two good performances in a row though, but maybe he is ready to shock us all.