Stew unsure over Villa future

Downing has been in some of the best form of his career during the

past campaign when he won Villa’s player of the year award and

regained his place in the England squad. But talks over a new

contract have been put on ice after just one meeting between

Downing’s representative and the club at a time when the

26-year-old is being linked with a summer move to Liverpool.

Downing said: “If you ask any player about interest from clubs,

they get flattered by it but I think you’ve just got to keep your

mind on the job and keep playing well for your club and country.

“All players want to play at the highest level and in the biggest

competitions. “With England as well, all the top players play in

good teams. I’m no different. “You just want the best for your

career. You want to finish with medals at the end of it so, if it’s

a step up with Villa or with someone else, then I’m ready for it.

“You watch teams in the Champions League and it makes you wish you

were there. You sit at home and watch it, hear the music come on,

you see the teams and you think ‘that’s where you want to be.’

“It’s the pinnacle. It’s the best. It’s the best standard with the

best players. It would be nice to taste that one day.” Downing has

two years remaining of his current contract but he has reiterated

his stance of not wanting to commit to longer at this juncture. He

said: “My agent had a meeting with the club – just one meeting –

and he just felt it was the right time not to sign my contract.

“I’ve still got two years to go, so I’ve still got a long time to

go, so I just decided to leave it as it is. “Will I be at Villa

next season? I’m not sure. “I mean, we had the meeting with the

club, we expressed our feelings and they said to me they’re going

to improve the team and the squad. “So, as far as I know, I’ll

still be reporting back for pre-season because I’ve heard nothing.”

Downing maintains he will continue to be totally committed to Villa

should he remain even if fans have been upset at his current

stance. He said: “You hope they do (understand) but normal fans

will want you to stay at their club for the rest of your life. If

you do leave there’s obviously a bit of bitterness there. “You hope

they do understand because, it’s like any job, if there’s a better

job on hand, or a better level to do it, then people do it. “If I

don’t move and I stay, I’ll get on with the job as normal. I’ll do

my best and give 100%. “It’s up to their fans and their opinions of

me. If they want to be loud and clear with what they think of me,

then that’s fine. “I’ll still give my best because I’m employed to

do so.” Downing is happy to be involved with England, and made his

first start for more than two years against Ghana in March, after

fearing his international days might be gone forever. He said:

“When I was injured for a long time and missed a lot of football

and England games, other people came in and took their chance.

“Credit to them. For me, personally, it wasn’t good. I came back,

got into a squad after my injury which was a boost. “But I wasn’t

picked again for a long time after that and I thought maybe my time

had gone. “The only thing I could do was play well enough to get

back in and that’s been proven.”