Date: 10th January 2012 at 11:00pm
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When you sign a proven premier league player worth twenty million pounds, you are expecting him to run riot from the beginning. That is just a natural footballing instinct. Firstly, the market for British players is inflated and a joke to say the least. And secondly,I put ‘overall contribution to the football team’ over goals when it comes to a midfielder. Patrick Viera, Roy Keane, if you get my drift.

The jury has been out on Stewart Downing and will continue to do so for as long as he plays for Liverpool Football Club. The Liverpool fans need to understand that Downing will not get you 10-15 goals a season.That is the empirical truth.He is not a prolific scorer.This is a flaw in his game and from what I have observed,he is not going to get any better.Here are the statistics- Middlesborough 181 appearances 17 goals, Aston Villa 63 appearances 9 goals. So,on an average he will fetch you a goal every 9 games. He is not the greatest English winger to have graced a football field but he is definitely not as bad as he is brandished to be.

Stewart Downing is a good footballer. He has a great work-ethic. He has the ability to drift past defenders.His positional sense on the pitch is immaculate. He has a lethal left-foot and a decent right foot too. He defends his wing-backs well. How often do you see Glen Johnson getting caught out? Liverpool fans have failed to recognize the defensive aspect of Downing’s game.

Downing has moulded himself into the Liverpool set-up very well. Downing is a primarily a winger that will provide you goals. Apart from Luis Suarez there is nobody to finish off those chances. You need a Raul Gonzalez, Robbie Fowler, Henrik Larsson or Ruud Van Nistelrooy to derive the best out of Stewart Downing. Until Liverpool buy that quality striker all of Downing’s good work will go unsung. I rate Stewart Downing highly and still believe that he will be a brilliant signing.

Final Verdict – Is Juan Mata better than Stewart Downing ? – Yes but Mata is poor defensively if you observe a Chelsea game closely. So apples and Oranges.

Article courtesy of Mayank Adhye at Live4Liverpool