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'An exciting signing for us'

Boss says Stewart Downing will bring plenty of qualities, on and off the pitch, to the club

22 June 2019

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Rovers boss Tony Mowbray has expressed his delight at bringing a player of Stewart Downing's calibre to the club.

The 34-year-old yesterday put pen-to-paper on a one-year deal at Ewood Park after leaving boyhood club Middlesbrough, for whom he had played over 400 games.

After making a name for himself in the North East, Downing made a £12m move to Aston Villa in July 2009, followed by a £20m move to Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool, where he won the League Cup in February 2012.

Spells at West Ham United and then back at Middlesbrough followed for Downing, who also has 35 England caps under his belt and played at the 2006 World Cup.

Mowbray, a former Middlesbrough manager who still regularly attends games at the Riverside, has been a keen admirer of Downing's qualities for many years and believes he will have a big part to play at the club.

"He'll soon be 35, we know that, but I saw him play maybe half a dozen times last season for Middlesbrough and he has still got really top, top quality - Premier League quality - with the ball at his feet," said the Rovers boss.

"He brings great experience, he's brave on the ball, he picks lovely passes, he can travel with the ball, he's got good mobility still, so I think he's an exciting signing for us.

"Whilst he's not in his mid-20s and in the middle of his England career, he's a great lad with great qualities that he will bring to the football club.

"I've always put a lot of stock in personality and character and values, and Stewart is very rich in all those areas as well.

"I'm looking forward to getting him on the grass and integrating him into the group.

"He knows a few of the lads from the North East anyway, so I'm sure he'll fit in well."

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