Thursday, November 6
Hodgson visits Downing street
Good news that Stewart Downing has deservedly made it into Roy Hodgson's England squad. Not only has Downing scored twice this season (one more than the whole of last season) he's also had four assists – making Sakho's equaliser at Hull with a great disguised pass, taking the free kick from which Winston Reid scored and playing in Amalfitano for the third goal against Liverpool, and of course making Valencia's goal against Stoke on Saturday. He's also taken corners against Man United, QPR and Burnley that have resulted in goals. In addition he's hIt the post at Burnley and got Wayne Rooney sent off for a wild lunge. Stewart had some good games and some rubbish games last season, but always looked very much a confidence player. The great thing about playing Downing in the midfield diamond role is that he sees so much of the ball. If one pass doesn't come off he quickly has the chance to try another, rather than being isolated on the wing and dwelling on any mistakes. It's been a hugely productive season so far for the Middlesbrorough-born midfielder. The challenge now is to maintain that form.