Southgate delight at Downing

11 January 2009 11:03
Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate claims Stewart Downing has accepted the club's stance over his future and is willing to remain at the Riverside Stadium until the end of the season. Downing started Saturday's 1-1 derby draw with Sunderland and set-up Afonso Alves's first-half opener despite his future with the Teessiders being the subject of much speculation. Spurs have seen two bids rejected for the England winger this week despite Downing admitting he is keen to leave his hometown club due to his frustration over their toils towards the foot of the table. But Southgate claims the 24-year-old wideman understands the club's determination to keep him and the Boro boss was delighted with his performance. "He was excellent," he said. "He worked his socks off for the team, got back and won tackles, got back to intercept things. "He is a class player and he showed today why it is so important for us to hang on to him. "We have just said, there is nothing going to happen now and what happens in the future happens in the future. "None of us can look that far forward. We have got a job to do here. "We have got on with it. He understands our situation. As I said earlier in the week, he loves playing for this football club and nothing would give him greater pleasure than for him to be playing here and us being up at the top of the league. "Now that's obviously very difficult, but he knows his job between now and the end of the season is to help this club get as high as we possibly can."

Source: ESA