Steven Gerrard: Stewart Downing can be Liverpool and England star

16 November 2011 12:33
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes Stewart Downing has the perfect stage on which to build his reputation as one of England's leading players.

The Reds winger was one of the standout players in England's 1-0 friendly win over Sweden having also played a part in the victory over world champions Spain on Saturday.

Downing was one of the most expensive of a raft of signings made by Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish this summer, the club splashing out ?20million to bring the 27-year-old from Aston Villa.

Creative spark: Stewart Downing (centre) set up England's goal against Sweden

He has had a quiet start to life at Anfield but Gerrard is confident Downing will grow into his role and prove himself to be worth every penny.

The Reds skipper told LFC Magazine: 'I think the move was perfect for him at this point of his career. He was the star at Middlesbrough and I think he moved up to Villa and proved he could be one of the best players in the league.

'I think at the age he's at it was perfect for him to sign for us. I felt he was a player we needed and that we were a club he needed to be at.

Time has come: Gerrard says that, at 27, Downing is ready to prove his class

'He now has a platform here to prove over the next five or six years that he's one of the best players in theleague. He can really nail down that left-side role and make it his own.'

Gerrard has had a frustrating start to the season with ongoing injury problems, but that has given him time to appreciate the talents of Uruguay striker Luis Suarez.

'To see Luis day in, day out has been a real eye-opener for me,' added Gerrard. 'I knew he was a good player. Having worked with him on a regular basis I think he has the potential to be one of the best in the world.'

Back to business: Liverpool travel to Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday

Liverpool resume Barclays Premier League action with a trip to Chelsea on Sunday looking to get back to winning ways after disappointing home draws against Norwich and Swansea.

Gerrard, who is likely to miss the game as he recovers from an ankle problem, said: 'I think the squad is looking stronger, probably the strongest we've had for a long time. Now it's all about delivering.

'The tools are all there, now we need to work hard, focus on each game and try to build on what we've shown over the last 20 or so games.'

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Source: Daily_Mail