DOWN WELL UP FOR HAM­MERS

Midweek Sport - - SPORT - By JON WEST

Im­prove

STE­WART DOWN­ING has joined West Ham to get his Eng­land ca­reer back on track.

The Ham­mers are de­lighted to have snapped up the winger from Liver­pool for just £5mil­lion – and they are hop­ing he will pro­vide the am­mu­ni­tion for an­other for­mer Kop­pite, Andy Car­roll, when the big striker is fully fit.

Both strug­gled at An­field, es­pe­cially when Bren­dan Rodgers was boss. But West Ham gaffer Sam Al­lardyce has a knack of get­ting play­ers’ ca­reers back on track and that’s what Down­ing is hop­ing for.

The 29-year-old turned down New­cas­tle be­cause he felt the Ham­mers would be bet­ter for his Three Lions chances. Down­ing hasn’t played for his coun­try in more than a year and wasn’t used at the Euro 2012 fi­nals.

And he has taken a sub­stan­tial pay-cut to sign for the Up­ton Park side on a four-year con­tract.

Down­ing is ex­pected to play some part against Cardiff at the week­end.

He said: “I’m very ex­cited. It’s a great op­por­tu­nity for me be­ing here. It’s a great club and I’m re­ally ex­cited to get go­ing.

“I’ve played a de­cent few games for Liver­pool in pre-sea­son, so there will be no prob­lems on that front.

“It’s all hap­pened quickly, but I’m re­ally ex­cited and hop­ing to play a part on Satur­day.”

Al­lardyce had hoped to use the Down­ing cash to sign an ex­pe­ri­enced striker as back-up for Car­roll.

But he de­cided the deal was too good to pass over and as a re­sult the lit­tleused Modibo Maiga will fill in un­til Car­roll is fit.

West Ham star Win­ston Reid has ral­lied his troops – telling his team-mates: “We must go one bet­ter this sea­son.”

The Ham­mers fin­ished 10th last sea­son and with Down­ing and Car­roll sign­ing this sum­mer, man­ager Al­lardyce has spent big to im­prove the squad.

Cen­tre-back Reid, the club’s player of the sea­son last year, says they aim to fin­ish even higher this time.

The New Zealand in­ter­na­tional said: “We have been talk­ing about our goals for the sea­son and I think the main thing for us is that we

AM­BI­TION: Win­ston Reid NICE TO SEE STEW:

Down­ing will link up with for­mer Kop team-mate Car­roll

at Up­ton Park

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