Stewart Downing 'not feeling the pressure'
Thursday 04 August 2011
Stewart Downing is determined not to let his hefty transfer fee weigh heavily on him as he prepares for his first season with Liverpool.
The Reds splashed out a figure believed to be around £20million to bring the winger to Anfield this summer from Aston Villa, where he had been voted player of the season.
Downing said: "It's about picking up where I finished off last season with Aston Villa, carrying on my form and not doing anything differently. Just because of the fee, it doesn't mean I have to change.
"I'm being brought in to do what I did at Aston Villa, whether that's on the left or right. I'm not sure where the manager sees me playing but I just want to do well for Liverpool.
"Last season was probably my most consistent season and I just want that to continue. It's a big season for me personally and the club, and I want to get in the England team as well. Hopefully Liverpool will see the best of me."
Downing is one of four new signings made by manager Kenny Dalglish during the close season, and he was introduced to the media at a press conference yesterday alongside Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and goalkeeper Alexander Doni.
Dalglish is famously reluctant to reveal targets for the Reds but, after the way they finished last season and their summer recruitment, Downing is in no doubt a return to the Champions League should be a target.
The 27-year-old said: "This club has high expectations and it's a club that deserves to be in Europe. In the past they've have done very well and I'm sure the players and the manager will want to do well for the owners and get into that top bracket.
"I think we've certainly got the squad now, there's a lot competition for places in a way there maybe hasn't been in the past, so I think it's got to be an aim."
Downing has even loftier ambitions for the future and already has his sights set on the Premier League title - which would be Liverpool's first in the top flight since Dalglish's last full season in charge in 1989-90.
"In the long term the ambition would be to win the league," he said. "It doesn't happen overnight, it's a building process and hopefully we've started it with the players Kenny's brought in this summer, along with the top players he already had.
"Speaking to the lads who've been here for a while, they said you can sense the atmosphere around the players and the fans. I think we just need to start well and get the fans on side, and let's have a right good go."
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