Boro boss backs Downing

13 October 2006 04:09
Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate has backed winger Stewart Downing to recover quickly from criticism of his recent displays for England. Downing was relegated to the subs bench for the 2-0 loss in Croatia in midweek, following a below-par performance against FYR Macedonia, but Southgate is tipping his player to get back to his best. He said: "When you play for England the spotlight is so intense, but it makes you stronger as a character. "He is very young and he is learning to deal with all these things that he will not have had to encounter before. "His record with England is nine matches, seven wins and two draws, so it is not that bad a record. "He is suffering a bit in terms of the way people are viewing him in the national team at the moment. "That is why it is all the more important for me that he knows how much he is appreciated here and that our fans give him the sort of reception he warrants."

Source: ESA