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Keeping up appearances...

Milestone man Stewy made his 700th club career appearance at the weekend, and there's plenty more in the tank

24 June 2020

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It's now 700 club career appearances for Stewart Downing, who marked his most recent outing with an assist and three points against Bristol City.

Of those 700 games at club level, 37 of those have come whilst having the Rovers badge on his chest, with the experienced campaigner certainly impressing in his first season at Ewood Park.

The midfielder might be approaching his 36th birthday, but his performances have shown there's still plenty of life in the 35-cap former England international, with his assist for Corry Evans' first league goal in almost five years being Downing's seventh set up of the season.

"I knew it was coming, as it had been mentioned a couple of times," he said when touching on his big milestone.

"The season was then stopped on 699 and I thought that could be me done, but it’s a nice milestone.

"I always had it in my head. I always set little targets. Being injury free has been a big plus. I’ve been handled very well here. The manager has looked after me. Sometimes I might drop out of training for a day or I might be rested in a game.

"I’d like to play every game, but I have to understand the bigger picture. The manager’s job is to keep me fit for 46 games, not just for three in a week.

"So I’ve been handled very well and I’ve probably played a lot more than the gaffer probably wanted, not more than I wanted, because I want to play every game, but he likes to mix it around a bit and keep players fresh, but I’ve enjoyed the run of games, the continuity, because it makes you feel fitter and you get into a rhythm," he admitted.

"I’ve played a lot of different positions as well and have learnt quite a lot. You can still learn at my age – the way we play and the different ideas the manager has, so in that sense it’s been a big plus for me and I’ve learned a lot of new things."

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