Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has said that Stewart Downing has finally come of age for the Reds, after a very poor start to his Anfield career last season, when he failed to score a single goal and looked destined for the Anfield exit.
Gerrard believes that Downing is a completely different player from the one that played last season, as his performances on the pitch have shown how much confidence the winger has at the minute.
After his impressive display against Spurs on Sunday which was capped off with a goal, Downing is now part of the attacking force at Liverpool which is spearheading their charge towards the top four, and after beating Spurs, the whole team is now brimming with confidence.
And after some super performances from Downing, Gerrard now believes that he is showing why former manager Kenny Dalglish took such a big risk in signing the England International for £20 million from Aston Villa.
“He’s a different player now,” Gerrard said, according to the Mirror. “Now we’re seeing Stewart Downing the England international and why he has got all those caps.
“What is impressing me the most about Stewart at the moment is the work he’s doing for the team without the ball – sliding tackles, his double-marking with Glen Johnson and his effort.
“The stats that go up on the board after every game underline that.
“He’s a different player and if he can keep producing those type of performances then it will be money well spent.
“If he keeps to that level of consistency he can make that position in the team his own.”
Downing began the season out of favour with new boss Brendan Rodgers and he was told he could look for another club, but Downing showed some determination and fought his way back into the manager’s plans and now he is a main player in the Reds fight for Europe this season.