2/22/2012 09:20:00 am

Macca claims: Criticism of £20m Liverpool star is 'unfair'. Is he right?

Liverpool winger Stewart Downing has come in major criticism this season, and after failing to score or create a goal in 25 league games so far, it's easy to understand why. The former Villa man grabbed an assist against Brighton in the FA Cup game at the weekend, which will hopefully spur him on to greater things in the league. In my view, criticism of Downing is totally justified, but according to former Liverpool defender Jason McAteer, the club's strikers should take the lion's share of the blame.

In an interview with LFC TV, McAteer - who was part of Roy Evans' wonderfully entertaining mid-1990s Liverpool team - argued:

"Stewart's come in for some unfair criticism. He puts the ball in the box, and you're expecting your striker to get on the end of it. He's done that at times, and not gotten the reward for it.

"Against Brighton, he put some intelligent balls in. The cross he put in for Carroll's goal was fantastic, and he worked really hard".


It's great that Downing got an assist against Brighton but that shouldn't mask the fact that he has failed to score or create a goal in almost 38 hours of league football.

Yes, Downing has been unlucky; he's hit the post a few times, and a few excellent crosses have been wasted by the likes of Andy Carroll; however, the time has to come when excuses have to stop, and the player has to start delivering.

Downing is in the prime of his career; he's massively experienced in the Premier League, and he's a full England International, so in theory, he shouldn't need time to adapt to Liverpool.

For me, the problem with Downing is simple: he just doesn't have natural self-confidence and self-belief; you can see it in his body language every time he's interviewed.

Liverpool is too big for him, and if things continue as they have all season, he could end up going an entire season without scoring or creating a league goal.

Jaimie Kanwar






37 Comments :

James Jackson said...

Football is a team game so one man can't take the blame. The main thing is that he is the leading crosser of a ball in the premiership at the moment.

Perhaps he could have scored a few goals but has he been denied by the woodwork and good goal keeping??

Well said Jason Mc

Tornike Khomeriki said...

I just don't understand where his problem is. If you could do it in your previous club, why can't you do it here? If you could run past players and put crosses in, do it here as well! The only realistic explanation for me is a confidence issue that influences pshysical movement, but I don't understand why he would have that.

Zulu said...

Got to agree with Jaimie here, Downing does lack confidence. He has all the ability and pace required to be a top class winger but seems scared to take on his full back in case he loses the ball. For the price we paid for him I certainly expected more of a return from him. Hopefully he'll finish the season strongly because to make that final champions league spot we need all our attacking players to start performing.

Jevon said...

agree fully

Chan said...

Its one thing putting in useful crosses, another putting aimless crosses. So I don't see what is so great about being top of the most crosses made in the league, when it isn't productive.

I don't mind him on the right but he still way below some of the other wingers in the league such as, despite all these crosses he puts in and there is only so much you can blame on the forwards. 

Lost count of amount of times on the right wing, where Carroll is waiting for the ball to come in the box but Downing simply fails to get his past his man and put a good ball in or when he does, he takes ages doing it.

Been a dud for us this season, that is for sure. He plays so flat and monotonous. Wing play is all he is good at and he can't even get this right for us.  Expected more from a experienced PL player. Who knows, might be worth the money we paid for him next season or he may not be, like Johnson still after all this time.

Rather have Bellamy out on the wing.

Chan said...

Oops I mean I don't mind him on the LEFT

Bill said...

He's just not good enough but Comolli missed out on the better English players. Don't blame Kenny, all the signings were Comolli's, after the Dogeson escapade the owners wrongly didn't trust Kenny who was then only a temp, to make the right purchases.  Whoever hired Comolli, (in the words of Jeremy Clarkson) should be taken out and shot.

Patrick said...

It isn't just about kicking the ball into the box as often as you possibly can.  The quality of the ball is vital.  Downing has has failed thus far to consistently put quality crosses into the danger area.  So I would arue that some criticism is warranted.  That said, Liverpool fans should still support and encourage this guy as long as he is playing in the red jersey.  He could still have a good career at this club ahead of him.

Titicamara said...

downing is starting to look like the 7 million pound player that we paid 20 million for.

Titicamara said...

how many times does it need to be said-
kenny has final say on who's signed so commoli can't be blamed.
that's a basic fact.i don't understand how so many fans don't know that.

Theonlygeefi said...

Agree with Jamie as well. We over paid for a player supposedly in his prime and week after he's failed. I've heard the arguements over "he was only player available" and "the stats don't lie - he was one of Villa's best players last year" etc etc etc. I just don't think he is good enough for LFC. Full stop. I like to always use the adage - is he good enough to get in any of the 10 ten teams in Europe? If the answer is a resloute No then he's not good enough for us. At 27 he is at his peak and if that peak produces no goals and no assists then I'd say for an attacker that would testimount to a complete and utter failure. Sell him and go for some wonderfully skilled youngster instead. YNWA

Jay said...

They do know it - they just make up any old rubbish to absovle their heroes of ANY criticism

Papisssss said...

He was always a questionable signing for that amount of money before he even played a minute for Liverpool. All he has is one weapon to his attacking arsenal and that is getting down the wing and putting a good ball in. For a top club winger/wide player, you either have got to have more than one weapon to your attacking arsenal (Bale, Nani, Pires, Ginola (well I am a Newcastle fan!), etc) or if you do have just the one, you have got to show it consistently well (e.g. Antonio Valencia). Downing is supposed to be the latter but he clearly isn't playing well consistently, not even in two/three consecutive games here and there. 

Jay said...

When it comes to the strikers lack of goals it's all about the lack of service from the midfield, and when it comes to looking at the lack of assists from midfield it's all about the poor finishing from the strikers.

As individuals, everybody at the club is doing their job just fine though and shouldn't be criticised, and a minor improvement of last years league form was all that could have been reasonably expected from the team this season.

That's the basic gist of the arguments right?

Michael said...

I don't always agree with you Jamie but your comment about his self-belief are spot on. He is a decent player but just seems to struggle performing at LFC.

Sam said...

I think his natural lack of self-belief is one thing, and combined with hitting the post a few times it's just absolutely killed his confidence.

Ashfah Hussain said...

Steward is a failure. One match performance doesn't indicate anyrthing. Against Brighton at home is just like, IN THE LAND OF THE BLIND THE ONE EYE MAN IS THE KING.

RedHeart said...

Downing is not good enough. No matter how much confidence he gains, he is not going to learn new things at this age. He just doesn't attempt to go pass man with ball, something winger are very good at. As soon as he approaches the first defender, he does a back pass to midfield. Overall, his whole game is too predictable which can give him limited success against small teams but no chance against a quality team.

To become successful, there has to be an element of unpredictability in a player's game which causes problems for defenders. When Valencia is running in full back can't decide which route he may take. He may cut inside and shoot on the goal OR he may run outside and pass a cross OR  he may do 1-2 with striker while running toward the middle of the goal. Such dynamic play creates real chances, not the ones like Downing chucking ball towards the opposition defenders while no Liverpool player is in the box.

Voland said...

Downing might have taken time to fit into the Liverpool system, however the potential is all there to see. Liverpool may have overpaid to bring him in from Aston Villa, but the future is bright if he starts producing performances such as the one against Brighton on a regular basis and against the "big boys" in the EPL.

Crems said...

Downing is just not good enough for lfc .He is too left footed , too predictable and has no guts .He looked okay against Brighton ,  Brighton are a not in the prem thats says it all .Get shut in the summer .

Zulkifli said...

Downing is simply not good enough for Liverpool as he belongs to teams like Middlesbrough and Aston Villa -bottom half of the table that is.Macca is only trying to help out an English crap.KD should really look into his transfer targets carefully in the summer and please no more overrated English craps.

James Cooper said...

I definitely think he is good enough. I think every single one of you that says Liverpool are too big for him is deluded. Yes he would never have got close to getting in the team of 08/09. But look at us now. We have such an imbalanced side it's unreal, hence our league position and inability to batter the smaller clubs, let alone beat them. Downing fits perfectly within that imbalance. Players like Charlie Adam and Henderson aren't a patch on the Gerrard's and Suarez's. Fans have to remember we are in the middle of a transitional period. Players like Downing were bought in to help that transition. Obviously he hasn't performed as we had expected but neither have many of our other players. It's taken Carroll over a year to finally look a decent player. We as fans are too quick to rule players out. Joe Cole is another that got hounded out because we expected too much too soon, ditto Aquilani. How about we watch the rest of the season develop without damning our own players left, right and centre.

James Cooper said...

If Downing has a man of the match performance against cardiff, it will be interesting to see how many fans change their tune...

Keith said...

 i am more worried about the passenger henderson wasting a team place and doing nothing to warrant a starting place,he passes the ball less then five foot and its always backwards ,,runs either beside or after players without tackling ,and also looks as if he,s  wondering about huffing and puffing while being bent over.who the fuck spent 20 million of this waste of space and before u all jump to say he,s only a young lad lets remember that martin kelly is the same age and shows a maturity beyond his years not only with his playing but with the heart he shows in each performance ,,,,,am sorry but for 20million in a year when champions league football is a must next year he needs to start learning or growing up fast,if ur not good enough or ready enough u shouldnt be wearing the red shirt until u are ,,,,,,

dixie222 said...

he has got alot of making up to do and he can do that by helping the team to have a strong run in. I stated erlier in the season that every time i go to anfield you see him lazily walking around off the ball, this has changed over the last month or so and he is working well off the ball but the criticism was in my mind acceptable for a player who come with great credentials for a massive fee and started poorly. Carroll and downing are starting to fire and come to form. it is henderson that i have concerns with at the moment but the others are getting better so why not him

j75j said...

Now Carroll is coming a live Suarez is back, hopefully we will see Downing get more assists.

Papisssss said...

Liverpool have had a problem in battering small sides for many a year now. 

Mikearms said...

The article starts by saying "Downing has come in for major criticism this season", but other than on this site I haven't really come across any Major criticism of Downing. So far this season this site has contributed so much negativity towards the new players it is becoming a joke. Every week it's one of Henderson, Carrol or Downing getting slagged off by Kanwar and the negative crew. Patience is required from everyone, it's Kenny's first full season and we have lots of new players bedding in, one step at a time and some positive support will ensure progress.

Gcish said...

downing lacks pace, liverpool fans slated ryan bable , he is way better tham downing, but looking towards the future , his value as a player has gone down, so we cant sell him back and write him off . 

VormHat said...

Think Jaimie has it spot on here- he isn't a bad player, but he lacks the self-belief and class to be a top player for a club of our size (even taken into account our slightly diminished expectations).

He is effectively the same as Hodgson- a good manager but not right for this level. If Downing could get back to the level he had at the start of the season, when he really was excellent for a while, I'd be very happy with him but performances like the one against United, which was, frankly, a disgrace, can't be tolerated at this club.

Promising game against Brighton though, looked more confident than he had for a while. That said, their full-back (Calderon? I think...) was awful. Downing definitely does better on the left too.

Jaimie K said...

Man of the match against inferior opposition? Big deal. What about doing it in the league against real opposition?

GM said...

You don't pay 20m for transition.. and Carroline looks far from decent.. he's the same overrated Brit crap he has always been...And if he doesn't have a MOTM performance against a lower league club.. will you admit how wrong you are??? Probably not...

Kopiguni said...

WTF...so are the critics expecting him to bend the balls onto the ass of the striker for a tap (butt) in before he can count as able to deliver? Agree that there are a few games where he disappeared but he had been putting in a lot of work and crosses for most games.

I will agree more that Caroll has wasted more than what Downing had created to be honest. I hope all these will change now with the forwards firing in the goals and our unbelievable bad luck is finally put to rest.

Mdu365 said...

If he were a "foreigner" he would be pasted by all and sundry on here. Experienced, english epl player + 20 mil.... ff sakes - he is a MAJOR flop in anyones book, period.

Chan said...

He is in the England squad....urgh. Seems to only get picked because he can provide a 'left-foot' option on the wing.  

jasin said...

copper has a very good point. If you don't like him then surely don't take glory in a goal that he assist in or makes himself. Because that would make you and the rest of his doubters a hypocrite. 

Give him your support for a year, see if he is improving and then ask questions later. LFC will not get all the best talent because of our league standing. When people start to realize that LFC isn't as badass as it was at the beginning of the century the faster LFC will turn around it's fortunes. You can't constantly get on someones case and expect good things from them. Show some respect and support and it might be returned 10 fold when it matters. 

Winning silverware is important for any club. I would rather win the double cup comps this year then go out in the qualifying rounds of the CL next year because the team is still in transition. 

GM said...

I'm sure you also said that we should give Konchesky our full support and let him prove himself.. after all.. we should support a player if he wears the shirt right??? And we should have kept Hodgson bcuz you should always support the manager right??? Or does that only apply to players and managers you like???

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