Downing exit gets green light

26 May 2009 10:06
Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson says England winger Stewart Downing can leave should a big club come in for him.

Gibson intends to honour a gentleman's agreement - reached when Tottenham's £15million bid for the player was rejected in January - to let Downing leave if the 'right club' comes calling.

His comments come as Downing faces up to six months on the sidelines as he recovers from foot surgery.

Gibson said: "Stewart has been fantastic. He has given us 100 per cent commitment.

"He has suffered - he has suffered as a result of the performances, he has suffered because of the results and he is hurting.

Unsaid agreement"We had an unsaid agreement that if the right club came in - and I believe Stewart is a top four club player - we would not stand in his way.

"But Stewart was sad - he would be sad to leave our club.

"The injury he has got is going to take a substantial period of time - we think somewhere between four and six months.

"He is a great lad and I just want to see him back on the pitch enjoying his football, pressing for the England squad and if a big club comes in for him, I have given Stewart my word that I wouldn't stand in his way."

Source: SKY_Sports