Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing appears to have a future at the North East club despite being told over the summer that he was not in Garry Monk’s plans, reports The Northern Echo.
The 33-year-old returned to the Riverside Stadium back in 2015, six years after leaving the club to join Aston Villa, and he has since played a key part in helping them reach the Premier League, only to then struggle in their quest for top-flight survival.
The former England international bagged three goals and laid on five assists to help Aitor Karanka’s side seal promotion back to the top tier in 2016, although he managed just one goal last term as Boro were relegated from the Premier League, having picked up just 28 points from their 38 games.
However, no deal was forthcoming, and recent reports suggest that new boss Monk, who took over during the close season, will give him the chance to reclaim a spot in his first team.
The North East outfit have won two and drawn one of their opening five Championship games but have managed just four goals so far this term, and failed to break down Preston North End last time out.
Thus, they may well benefit from Downing’s reintegration in the coming weeks, starting with their trip to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
The Verdict: It looked for all the world that Stewart Downing would be leaving Middlesbrough during the summer, with Birmingham City clearly interested in his services.
However, he has remained at Boro beyond the deadline and appears to have been given a lifeline by manager Garry Monk, who may have made the decision to give the 33-year-old a chance given his side’s slow start to the season, which has seen them score just four times in five league games.
Downing was hugely influential in their rise to the Premier League back in 2016, and Monk will surely want to see those traits again in the coming weeks to convince him of the winger’s capabilities once again.
Middlesbrough fans… what do you make of the news? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!