Injured Downing eager to show his value to Villa

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The Independent Football

Stewart Downing has vowed to repay the faith shown in him by the Aston Villa manager, Martin O'Neill, despite admitting it will be early December before he is fit to play. Downing feared he would have to wait until January to obtain a summer move from relegated Middlesbrough after suffering a foot injury at the end of last season – against Villa.

He was concerned that playing in the Championship would affect his hopes of making Fabio Capello's 2010 England World Cup squad. But O'Neill opted to pay £12m this summer for his services, even though he was aware Downing would face several months on the sidelines.

Downing said yesterday: "Once I heard in the summer that the manager was after me, I wanted to go. I thought I might have to wait until January, which would have been frustrating because it's a World Cup year. I was thinking, 'Will Mr Capello pick me if I'm playing in the Championship?' The chances are probably 'no', so I do owe Martin O'Neill a lot and I can't wait to get fit. The injury is a bit of a strange one. It's not a break but there's a fracture there. I've had to have it pinned and that should come out in September," Downing said. "Then it's a case of building it up."

The Villa left-back Wilfred Bouma's injury nightmare could soon be over. Bouma missed the 2008-09 league campaign after dislocating his ankle in the Intertoto Cup against Odense at Villa Park on 26 July last year. He has been included in the Villa squad for next month's Peace Cup in Spain.

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