Downing not in a Stew over drop

Left-sided winger Downing went down with Middlesbrough at the end

of the 2008-2009 campaign. Villa are currently only one point above

the drop zone ahead of Sunday’s clash at Everton, but Downing

believes there is enough quality in Gerard Houllier’s squad to

survive. He said: “I have been in this situation before when I was

at Middlesbrough so I know what it is like. “No disrespect to

Middlesbrough but when we went down we had a right good go and just

weren’t good enough at the end compared to the next-placed team.

“But, if you look at the quality we have got here I think our

experience will shine through.” Carlos Cuellar, meanwhile, has

tipped fellow Villa centre-back Ciaran Clark to become “one of the

best defenders in Europe”. Clark, in action for the Republic of

Ireland against Uruguay on Tuesday, has been one of few bright

spots for Villa this season. “He is one of the best defenders I

have played with. He is superb,” said Cuellar. “He is young but he

has some amazing assets. He is quick, he has good technique, he can

play, he can tackle and he’s good in the air. He’s got everything

you need to succeed and flourish. “He is also incredibly versatile.

He will be one of the best defenders in the Premier League and in

Europe too in my opinion. He’s that good.”