Middlesbrough are only two points behind the table leaders in the Championship. A major factor towards this impressive form has been winger Stewart Downing.
After spending the last couple of years at clubs like Liverpool, Aston Villa, and West Ham, the 31-year-old decided to return to the place where it all began for him – Middlesbrough. Several years ago, the club were in the Premier League and had an exciting winger in the form ofDowning. The player now returns to the club as an experienced professional keen to get the club back to the top division.
He has been such an influence in the results thatmanager Aitor Karanka has termed him as the best player in the division. This is a huge praise but the player has the capability to live up to the expectations.Downing’s form nosedived when he moved to Liverpool but he once again regained the self-confidence when he came to West Ham.Downing was a major part in Sam Allardyce’s successful campaign with West Ham for a couple of years. Winning the championship, though, is an altogether different prospect with competition being intense. This year, the likes of Hull City, Derby County, and Brighton are expected to be in contention for the top spot.
“When he came here everybody was expecting his best and he is (now) playing his best, he is showing his character on the pitch, his performances in the last four games have been amazing. So I am really pleased because when he came here I was expecting this level. He knows how important he is for the team and everybody, not just our players, knows he is one of the best, if not the best players in the league.Fortunately he is one of the best in the division, if not the best,” saidKaranka.