DOWN WELL UP FOR HAMMERS
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