Downing hits back at Rodgers for criticism
Stewart Downing may have pushed himself close to the exit door at Liverpool after lashing out at manager Brendan Rodgers and insisting he has what it takes to become an Anfield hero.
Downing has struggled to find his feet at on Merseyside since making a £20 million move from Aston Villa in July 2011, but he has reacted angrily to Rodgers' suggestion that he lacks the courage to shine on the biggest stage.
"Stewart is a good guy and a good lad who came here for an awful lot of money, but it hasn't quite worked out for him as he would want it," stated Rodgers. "The big challenge for him now is that commitment to the cause and to show fight."
Those words have clearly hit a raw nerve with Downing, as he is quoted in several Sunday newspapers launching a passionate defence of his credentials.
"Bravery is a lot of things - it's not just about tackling," Downing said. "That's not my game. My bravery is about taking the ball when you are losing a game and trying to create things, which is what I try to do.
"You will have to ask the manager exactly what he meant. I was surprised that he came out with what he did. I have spoken to him on numerous occasions when I wasn't in the team and that was private.
"So, of course I'm upset, but I'm not going to go running around tackling people because that's not my game. I've got three years left on my contract and I'm going nowhere.
"I have worked hard to get here and I am not going to leave in a rush. I will fight for my place and I want to stay at Anfield."
Rumours on Merseyside suggest Downing will be allowed to leave Liverpool when the transfer window opens in January, but the out of favour winger is clearly eager to prove he has the stomach for the battle to scrap for a spot in Rodgers' revamped team.