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"The only place I wanted to come back to"

Stewart Downing is delighted to have rejoined Rovers and is hoping to repay the faith shown in him by Tony Mowbray

2 November 2020

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Stewart Downing admits there's no place he'd rather be after making his Rovers return and extending his Ewood Park stay for a second season.

The experienced former England international certainly impressed in his first campaign in East Lancashire, starting in 38 of the club's 46 league games.

Despite departing in the summer, Downing has been in regular contract with Tony Mowbray throughout the last few months, and is now back and available to feature from tomorrow night's home test against old club Middlesbrough.

And with more than 700 games under his belt so far in his stellar career, Downing's experience will certainly help a youthful Rovers squad.

"I always wanted to come back since the last game of last season and told the manager that," he revealed to iFollow Rovers.

"I said that if it wasn’t to be here then I’d probably have stopped playing and would have looked into something new.

"I had a really good time here last season, I really enjoyed it.

"The lads were great, the manager was good to me and we had a really good relationship, which was probably why he got so many games out of me.

"I just got a really good feel for the club, I was settled and this was the only place I wanted to come back to.

"I wanted to enjoy the last few years of football and I certainly enjoyed last season, so much so that I wanted to come back and extend it.

"The team looks very strong when everyone’s fully fit and available, so I’m really excited about it."

And following the chase to tie Downing down to a second season at Ewood Park, the former Liverpool and West Ham United midfielder wants to repay the faith shown by Mowbray.

"I mentioned when I first signed here that I was down in the dumps after not playing much towards the end of my time at Middlesbrough," he added.

"I massively want to repay that faith from the manager and not just for this season either.

"I think maybe when I first signed there were a few eyebrows raised with me being 35 or 36 at the time. There would have been questions surrounding what I’d bring to the party because I wasn’t the 25-year-old winger that I used to be.

"I think I proved that I’m fit, I can get through the games and I can do a job.

"The relationship with the manager was a big thing for me last season and was a big reason why I wanted this deal to happen."

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