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By ESPN Staff

Downing not interested in move to Spurs

Stewart Downing has brushed aside speculation linking him with a move to Tottenham by insisting he wants to stay at Middlesbrough.

The 22-year-old England left-winger believes he can fulfil his ambitions at the Riverside.

Downing told the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette: 'It's flattering to be linked with clubs, but I'm contracted to Boro for four more years, I'm happy to stay, I want to stay and there's no reason for me to leave.

'I said at the start of last season that I could achieve European football and fulfil my international ambitions at Boro and a lot of people laughed.

'But we ended up in the final of the UEFA Cup, the semi-finals of the FA Cup and should have won that game, and I played in the World Cup.'

Downing's international ambitions will not be harmed by having his former club manager Steve McClaren now in charge of the England side, but the player insists he has to fight for his place.

He added: 'Steve knows exactly what I can do and I hope to be included, but there are a lot of players fighting to get into the squad - I'm up for the challenge, though.'

Downing claims that Middlesbrough are determined to mount a better challenge in the Premiership this season under new manager Gareth Southgate.

He said: 'Hopefully we can get off to a good start this season. We were disappointed with our performance in the league last season and we ended up concentrating on the cups.

'We have a lot of young talent. The young lads are pushing the senior players and with a couple of signings, we will be strong enough to compete.'