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Downing refuses to make excuses

Liverpool winger Stewart Downing has admitted it would have been easy to "spit the dummy" following a testing start to his career at Anfield.

Downing, 27, signed for Liverpool from Aston Villa for £20 million last summer but has struggled for form since his switch, with the midfielder failing to notch a goal or an assist in 24 Premier League outings.

However, after a bright showing for the Reds in their 6-1 FA Cup win over Brighton, the England international is eager to continue working hard in training in order to further impress on Merseyside.

Downing said: "The easy thing is to spit the dummy out and point out everything around that is going wrong. I have had some good games and some indifferent games and I have been on the bench sometimes when I have been used to playing every week.

"That has been a bit hard getting used to but I have adapted quite well, I think. But the only thing you can do is keep training well. If you are not training well you won't be picked - Kenny addressed that on day one.

"You have to train well if you are in the team or not: you have to be ready when called upon. Kenny sees everything. He watches training day in, day out. If you are not performing or you start spitting the dummy out you will not be playing so there is no point doing that.

"You have got to play well and be ready when he picks you and give him problems - reasons to keep picking you."

Liverpool take on Cardiff City in the Carling Cup final on Sunday, and Downing has admitted he has had to adapt to the higher expectation levels with the Reds compared to his time with Villa.

He said: "There is a lot more pressure here - but not as big as it has been. You are under the microscope every day, people are pointing but that is Liverpool, that is why you want to be here. You have got to blank that out. It is challenging every week, it pushes you on as a player - to play in finals."

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