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Downing agrees new Boro deal

Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing has agreed a new five-year contract.

Downing, who had two and a half years remaining on his existing contract, had been linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur.

But after no move came about during the January transfer window the club opened new talks with Downing.

Downing admitted the recent signing of Brazilian Afonso Alves convinced him of the club's ambition.

The backing he has received from the fans also played a part in the 23-year-old deciding he wanted to stay at the Riverside.

Downing told the club website: 'This is where I want to be.

'It's my hometown club but I had told them that I didn't want us to stand still. Signing Alves shows how ambitious we are.

'There's been talk about other clubs but I never wanted out. This is what I've wanted all along.

'I'd like to thank the fans for the support they have given me.

'They could have really got on my back in recent weeks in response to all that was being said. But they have been great.'

Middlesbrough's record signing Afonso Alves could make his FA Cup debut in Sunday's fifth round tie at Sheffield United.

The 27-year-old Brazilian has been working hard on his fitness for the last week and will be joined in the squad by Egypt international Mido as he continues he recovery from a pubic bone problem.

However, the game could come too soon for Turkish striker Tuncay Sanli, while midfielder Lee Cattermole (knee) and defender Chris Riggott (hamstring) are still out.