Downing on Radar

Stewart Downing is reportedly at the top of the list of targets for the lads and Scottish footballing giants Rangers.

Stories written by a number of local newspapers, and various online news outlets, say that the Middlesbrough winger is eyeing a move to the Stadium of Light and he would be reportedly also keen on joining the lads over the Glaswegians.

Some of the stories indicate that Sunderland has the upper hand should negotiations commence as Downing would want to stay at his home in the North East, after moving back to the region after leaving West Ham in 2015. With Downing not featuring for Boro Since December, speculation looms over where the Teessider will be playing his football next season.

So what could he add to Jack Ross’s Sunderland side? Downing has always been known for his attacking capabilities. In October 2003, a young Downing spent a month on loan at the SOL playing a part in Mick McCarthy’s 2003/2004 campaign, which he was trying to build a squad on a low budget and get promoted.

In the month he spent on Wearside his talent was obvious for all to see. Creative, an eye for a pass, and he knew where the goal was. Downing scored three goals in seven matches for McCarthy’s Sunderland and it was evident a prosperous future lay ahead.

Since the Downing left the lads in 2003, he has enjoyed two spells at his boyhood club Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Liverpool, West Ham, and has gone on to gain 35 caps for England.

Experience –

One thing that Downing would bring to any team he signs for is a wealth of experience.

Downing has racked up a total of 650 career appearances, scoring sixty goals. In his 19 seasons as a professional footballer, only four have been spent outside the top tier of English football.

The Teessider has got an impressive set of awards behind him as well. He has a League Cup winners medal from when Boro Won the trophy in 2004, He played and gained a runners up medal in the UEFA Cup Final in 2006. He won the award of Aston Villa player of the season in the 2009-2010 season and another League Cup winner's medal for the 2012 trophy that Liverpool won in 2012.

Creativity – Whilst he may not be as quick as he used to be, one thing that has remained with Downing throughout his career is his ability to pick a pass and take set pieces. Whilst he has never been a prolific goalscorer, he has a way of scoring some absolute beauties.

Whether or not Downing is actually on Jack Ross’s list of transfer targets is just speculation at the moment.

It is hard to predict where downing would currently fit in, given we currently have McGeady, Maguire, Morgan (On loan from Celtic) Gooch and other players that can play on the wings in case of injury.

Given that Downing has never played below the second tier before, any possible move would depend on what league the lads end up playing in next season.