Stewart Downing in action for Middlesbrough in 2008. Picture credit: Paul Hudson flickr creative commons.
Stewart Downing is a professional footballer who was born in Middlesbrough. As a youngster he joined his hometown team’s academy and quickly broke into the first team, making his debut against Ipswich in April 2002. The left-winger’s impressive performances for ‘Boro caught the eye of Sven Goran Erikkson, then the England national coach. Downing made his debut against the Netherlands in 2005.
The following season he became an integral part of Middlesbrough’s run to the European Cup Final in 2006. After their relegation in 2009, Downing joined Aston Villa where he continued his good form and became an important cog in Martin O’Neill’s improving Villa side. In July 2011 he joined Liverpool for £20m but failed to live up to his billing. In 2013 he moved south to West Ham, before rejoining his hometown team in 2015, where he helped them back to promotion back to the Premier League. In all he won 35 caps for England and last played for the national team at Euro 2012.